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The Gazette KCRG
Posted August 10, 2011
‘Values Voters’ planning to send a message about social issues at the Iowa Republican Straw Poll

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks in front of a crowd as part of a bus tour promoting pro-life leadership on Wednesday, August 10. (Dallas Houtz, Sourcemedia News)

CEDAR RAPIDS – The economy may be the top issue on Iowans’ minds, but without the foundation of strong families the economy won’t be strong, according to social conservative groups on a “Values Voters” tour of Iowa ahead of Saturday’s Iowa GOP Straw Poll.

Rick Santorum

The “Values Voters” bus was in Cedar Rapids Aug. 10 as part of its 22-city tour promoters hope will inform Iowans which candidates have signed a pro-life presidential leadership pledge and can be counted on as a strong leader in defending human life and traditional marriage.

“The economy may be the No. 1 issue, but we cannot allow these issues to play second fiddle,” Loras Schulte, a former state lawmakers and the chairman of the Benton County Republican Party, said.

Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum joined representatives of the Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council Action’s Faith Family Freedom Fund and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for the Cedar Rapids event that drew more media than values voters.

Santorum stressed the importance of family and moral foundations to the strength of the nation. The recent debt ceiling crisis was the result of a number of moral failings, including financial institutions taking advantage of risky housing markets, he said.

Foundational rights, such as the right to life and traditional marriage, “have been eroded by judges … unelected and unaccountable,” Santorum said.

He warned that as those foundational rights are usurped by the federal government Americans will enjoy less freedom.

“When you control the rights, when everyone does, you can grow a strong, healthy society, and that’s what happened here,” he said.

Nearby, three demonstrators held signs of support for same-sex marriage.

Alice McCabe of Cedar Rapids held a sign with a picture of her daughter and her daughter’s wife that read: “My Marriage isn’t an issue. Why is theirs?”

Referring to the “Votes have consequences” banner on the “Values Voters” bus, McCabe said she agreed.

“Votes do have consequences, sure, but not being here today has consequences, too,” McCabe said, adding that she supports strong families, too.

“Some of the strongest families I know are same-sex couples,” said Chris Nelson of Iowa City.

Same-sex marriages are not natural, Santorum said.

“There is nothing more natural in nature than marriage – one man and one woman,” he said. “That’s how God meant us to be.”

He went on to say everyone’s rights should be respected, without “giving rights that are not inherently rights.”

That’s what the election is about, Santorum said. “Not the economy, but the nature of the family and the sanctity of life.”

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