A half dozen Republicans who say they’re mulling the idea of running for president are scheduled to make appearances in Iowa Monday, and one of them may face a hostile crowd when he explains his views on gay marriage.  Plus, an aide to real estate developer Donald Trump is flying into Iowa Monday morning to discuss Trump’s chances as a Republican candidate in Iowa’s Caucus.

Two-time presidential candidate Ron Paul is the featured speaker in three Iowa cities today (Monday), part of a lecture series sponsored by The Family Leader, a group whose president had a key role in the successful effort to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who overturned a state law banning gay marriage. Paul opposes that state law.

“We just don’t need the government defining marriage. Society should do that. And if you have a certain society that has respect for traditional marriage, that’s what would happen.  If you have society that thinks differently, that’s what would happen,” Paul said during a Friday appearance on Iowa Public Radio. “But I don’t think we should have a knock down, drag out fight over it.”

Paul was the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 1988 and he sought the Republican Party’s nomination in 2008. Paul said as a Libertarian, he is skeptical about the government’s ability to police the world, manage the economy or tell people “how to run their lives” — and that philosophy extends to the issue of gay marriage. 

“The family traditionally for me is, you know, a man and a woman with children and that’s what I promote and that’s how I’ve lived,” Paul said Friday. “But I don’t think it’s up to the state to claim they know exactly what the family should be.”

Paul supports the repeal of the miltary’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays and lesbians serving in the military. He also opposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would ban gay marriage.  “I’ve just written a recent book — it’s not out yet — and I have a chapter on marriage and that is my position,” Paul said. “I don’t want an amendment to the constitution. I would just as soon the states not deal with it, that it would be a private matter and anybody who wants to call themselves married can call themselves married and that’s their business, but when they want benefits or special privileges…then that’s not good, but for private, personal reasons and contractual reasons, the definition of marriage should be irrelevant.”

For example, Paul said a gay couple shouldn’t be able to go into a state which does not recognize gay marriage and claim the same government benefits which are granted to married heterosexual couples in that state. Paul is scheduled to give lectures Monday in Sioux Center, Pella and Iowa City.

Five other potential presidential candidates will speak Monday evening at an event sponsored by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group that used to be known as the Iowa Christian Alliance. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Godfather’s Pizza founder Herman Cain are scheduled to address the crowd at a central Iowa church.