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Surrounded by Hate: Ted Cruz’s Iowa Victory Party Packed with Anti-LGBT Activists

by Hayley Miller February 04, 2016

In Ted Cruz’s victory speech in Iowa he took the time to thank his two national co-chairs: Bob Vander Plaats and Rep. Steve King. They joined Cruz on stage, along with his father, anti-LGBT Reverend Rafael Cruz.

“And to our national co-chairmen, Bob Vander Plaats and Steve King, these men have become dear and trusted friends. They are warriors. They are men of principle,” Cruz said. “They stand and speak the truth. They stand to defend their values and let me tell you, these leaders, day after day, week after week, have been crawling under broken glass with knives between their teeth.”

Just what exactly are the principles Ted Cruz was describing? A few highlights:

Bob Vander Plaats: Vander Plaats -- who runs Iowa’s anti-LGBT “Family Leader” said he would ask the next president to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling that made marriage equality the law of the land. He also led a campaign to recall three Iowa Supreme Court Judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality. And he compared being LGBT to a public health risk, like smoking. “If we’re teaching the kids, ‘don’t smoke, because that’s a risky health style,’ the same can be true of the homosexual lifestyle. That’s why I think we need to speak the truth once in a while.” He also smeared transgender people and falsely suggested they would assault people in restrooms.

Steve King: King, who was inducted into HRC’s “Hall of Shame” of the most anti-equality Members of Congress in 2014, received a zero on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard. He has spent the past decade fighting loving, committed same-sex couples in Iowa and nationwide marriage equality. During consideration of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, King claimed then-Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) had an agenda of protecting pedophiles. And just last year, he notoriously compared marriage equality to marrying a lawnmower.

Rafael Cruz: Ted Cruz has relied on his father to campaign for him throughout Iowa. Rafael Cruz hasn’t spared on the anti-LGBT rhetoric. At the World Congress of Families in Utah, he launched a fiery tirade against LGBT equality, suggesting that LGBT activists are looking to “legalize pedophilia.”

Vander Plaats, King and Cruz were on stage with Ted Cruz, but that isn’t the limit to Cruz’s anti-LGBT friends. Cruz also took the time to thank fellow anti-LGBT advocates Rick Perry, Glenn Beck and last but not least, Tony Perkins, during his victory speech.

Ahead of the upcoming caucus and primary elections, get the facts of Ted Cruz and the rest of the Republican candidates at

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Hayley Miller
Hayley Miller


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