Some protest politicians' gay marriage stance at Christian summi - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some protest politicians' gay marriage stance at Christian summit

Posted: Updated:
  • KWWL.com LinksMore>>

  • Waterloo News

    Waterloo News

    Local news and information for the Cedar Valley and Black Hawk County, including Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Evansdale, La Porte City, Jesup, Dunkerton, Hudson, Gilbertville, Janesville, Raymond and Elk Run Heights.More >>
    Local news and information for the Cedar Valley and Black Hawk County, including Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Evansdale, La Porte City, Jesup, Dunkerton, Hudson, Gilbertville, Janesville, Raymond, Elk Run Heights and the surrounding Black Hawk County area.More >>

While The Family Leadership summit gathered inside Cedar Falls High School, protesters crowded together outside.

The summit was sponsored by The Family Leader organization, which seeks to '...inspire Christ-like leadership in the home, the church and the government.' The summit has been controversial in past years. The Cedar Falls event, which hosted presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, drew pro gay marriage protesters.

“They're not tolerant of people that are a big part of their community,” said Melina Gotera, who graduated in 2011.

The protest was organized in part by Ariti Rao, a student at Cedar Falls who fought for a ban on so-called gay conversion camps in the state legislature this year. Advocates say the camps use inhumane treated to make gay teens straight.

Her effort did not pass, but she was much happier with the turnout Monday.

“This is amazing,” she said into a megaphone.

She worked the crowd, talking about the speakers inside, and their stance against gay marriage.

“You know we're going to show them that Cedar Falls is not tolerant of that,” she said.

Bob Vander Plaats is the President and CEO of The Family Leader. He said protesters were just exercising their right to freedom of speech.

“I'll always agree that they have the right to say it,” he said.

He called on attendees to respond.

“Don't run from that debate,” he said on stage. “Speak truth, show grace, show love – but engage.”

The protesters were also a major focus of presidential hopeful and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. He called it an indicator of a war on Christianity in America.

“There are those that didn't want us to be here,” Huckabee said. “I'm going to tell you something that might surprise you. I'm glad they were here. I'm glad they would come stand out there and express their views, which are different than ours.”

Huckabee was previously in Iowa campaigning in Cedar Rapids last week.

Santorum spoke after Huckabee. Though not yet a formal candidate for the Republican nomination, he joked about how he has announced a plan to declare his campaign.

Doug Robbins came all the way from Manchester for the summit. He said he came for the conservative ideas.

“I think a woman has a right to choose who she sleeps with, but not who she takes the life of,” Robbins said.

“Now, we've got to save the unborn, and not treat people as property,” he continued. “The baby inside the womb is not a woman's property. It has a life of his own.”

Similar messages met applause inside the auditorium, while protesters chanted out front. Protesters that may have outnumbered the actual attendees.

“We had a great turnout,” said Gotera. “We're just here today to show that our community is not afraid.”

Powered by Frankly