The Democrat running for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat promises she’d vote to repeal two federal policies that she argues imfringe upon the rights of gay Americans. 

Roxanne Conlin, a Democrat from Des Moines, is challenging Republican Senator Chuck Grassley this fall. “He wants members of the LGBT community to be second-class citizens,” Conlin said this weekend during a speech in Des Moines.  

Grassley was in Mason City Monday and a reporter asked Grassley if he was offended by Conlin’s assertion. “I have observed a lot of statements she’s made about economics — about a lot of things and I have found she is very, very naive about some of the things she says,” Grassley replied. 

Conlin got sustained applause from the crowd at the Iowa Democratic Party’s weekend fundraiser when she made these vows:  “If you sent me to Washington, I will fight to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’; I will fight to repeal DOMA and I will fight to end discrimination in employment.” 

DOMA is the “Defense of Marriage Act,” a bill then-President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996.  Under the policy, no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage that may be legal in another state.  As for the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Grassley argues Congress should wait for a Defense Department study before voting to end it.

“I think that congress ought to have that information before we vote,” Grassley said Monday in Mason City. “And so I’m going to wait until that study comes out at the end of the year because I don’t want to do anything with a program that has worked good for 18 years and has allowed the military to carry out its mission to make it more difficult for a combat organization to do its mission.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs predicted this past Sunday that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy would end during Barack Obama’s presidency.  Obama has said he wants congress to repeal the policy.  The U.S. House passed a bill earlier this year that would have repealed the policy at the conclusion of the Defense Department review, but Republicans blocked a similar vote in the U.S. Senate this fall.

(Reporting by Bob Fisher of KGLO-KRIB in Mason City)