Tea Party Turns on Gay Families

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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Tea Party Turns on Gay Families

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WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 08: Los Angeles Police officer Kristi Nielsen (R) holds hands with her girl friend from the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department as they march with the LA sheriffs and LA police "celebrates diversity" entry in the 38th annual LA Pride Parade June 8, 2008 in West Hollywood, California. California gay people are looking forward to the opportunity to legally marry, starting June 17. The California Supreme Court refused to stay its decision legalizing same-sex marriage though conservative and religious opponents called for the court to stop same-sex couples from marrying before their initiative to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage goes to ballot in November. Some county clerks, including those of Kern, Merced, and Kings Counties, are reportedly threatening to refuse to perform all marriage ceremonies in opposition to the same-sex marriage decision. The parade is expected to draw more than 400,000 people. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

At first they were all about taxes, but now the Tea Party is starting to turn on gay families.

A Tea Party rally in Iowa focused on calls to prevent gay couples from accessing rights like hospital visitation, shared child custody, and inheritance.

Not surprisingly, the call came from Republican lawmaker Kim Pearson, who was present to deliver a speech at the rally.

It's a particularly sensitive time for such talk in Iowa. In 2009, the state Supreme Court unanimously recognized that bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional. But in this past election, voters ousted some of the judges who reached that decision. Pearson had called for their impeachment.

In addition to opposing marriage, speakers also called for limits on women's reproductive autonomy.

Meanwhile, in Montana, a Tea Party leader claimed that gay marriage "is a violation of the constitution and my rights." On Facebook, his friends chimed in with calls to "hang up" "fruits," with references made to Matthew Shepard's death.

Roy Moore, who made headlines as the Ten-Commandments Judge, spoke at another Tea Party event. Moore has argued in favor of removing children from gay parents, and advocated for prohibiting homosexuality by imposing "physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution."

At the event, Moore told the crowd, "go forth armed."

A recent study shows that the Tea Party is identical the the Republican Party when it comes to gays, with 52 percent of both groups opposing marriage equality. In addition, the poll found that the Tea Party is significantly more likely to oppose even a minimum level of recognition with civil unions.

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