Des Moines Register: Bauer will attend Iowa rally attacking governor's order on gay rights
By David Yepsen/Des Moines Register
November 30, 1999
Web posted at: 10:01 a.m. EST (1501 GMT)
DES MOINES, Iowa (Des Moines Register) -- A rally protesting Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's executive order on gay rights, scheduled for tonight in Des Moines, is drawing fire from Democratic activists.
Conservative leader Gary Bauer, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and former professional football player Reggie White are scheduled to attend the rally at 7 p.m. at the Hotel Fort Des Moines.
The rally is sponsored by anti-gay rights activist Bill Horn of Altoona and his Straight From The Heart Ministries.
At issue is an executive order signed by Vilsack that bans discrimination in executive branch state agencies on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Horn, in a statement issued Monday, said the order "is a big political payoff to the governor's transvestite and cross-dresser supporters and I am shocked that this small group of people should have so much influence over the governor of the state of Iowa."
Horn said the order makes Iowa the first state in the nation to provide special protection, based on gender identity, for individuals seeking a state government job, and he said Vilsack "did it with the stroke of his pen."
Vilsack has said other states provide similar protections. The governor said state government shouldn't care about the private lives of its employees.
Horn said Monday "this was out of touch with mainstream America and their values."
Earlier in the campaign, Bauer criticized Vilsack for the order. His decision to attend the rally is seen as part of his effort to try to mobilize social conservatives for the Jan. 24 Iowa presidential caucuses.
Bauer said earlier in the campaign, "Iowans are experiencing another example of executive orders run amuck. Gov. Vilsack has joined the ranks of his friend Bill Clinton by working to impose a set of values without allowing the people or their representatives to decide on their own."
Randall Palmer, chairman of the gay and lesbian caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party, issued a statement Monday saying the rally is "nothing more than a long-shot presidential candidate and his celebrity supporter meddling in state government matters."
Palmer said the order "is about state government jobs and allowing experienced people to keep their jobs. It's about building Iowa's workforce and prohibiting discrimination against qualified workers."
"Gary Bauer should focus his campaign on national issues and quit interfering in state government," Palmer said. "It is none of his business who the State of Iowa employs."