Breathe Deeply

Bob Vander Plaats Says It’s Safe for Straights to Inhale Next to Gay People

Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa Family Leader, which is just about what you’d expect from its name, has good news for all the heterosexuals out there. Being gay is a health threat, but it’s not the same as second-hand smoke. As you may recall, Vander Plaats is the man behind the stop-gay-marriage pledge that all the GOP candidates rushed to endorse (except for Mitt Romney, who is apparently still trying to figure out how to have it both ways so that he can eventually reverse himself on yet another issue).

In a Q&A with Time, Vander Plaats was asked for the evidence for his past statement that being gay was a public health risk. “You’re talking about how it was compared to second-hand smoking?” Vander Plaats asked. “It was never this organization’s intent to say that if Bob is gay and Alex is not, Bob is going to be a health risk to Alex.”

Not the intent, perhaps, but definitely the effect.

Having established his credentials as a public health officer, Vander Plaats then goes on to suggest that gayness is connected to the national debt because…well, we’re not really sure why. Maybe all that stuff we bought at Barney’s was charged to the U.S. Government by mistake. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time we’ve heard that argument and given the way the GOP campaign is going, probably not the last.

So what’s the scariest part of the Q&A with Vander Plaats? The headline: “Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa’s Social Conservative Kingmaker.” Given the role that Iowa plays in the GOP campaign calendar, Vander Plaats will have an outsized say in who gets a boost to the nomination. As the Iowa caucuses draw nearer, expect a lot of ring-kissing (and kissing elsewhere) from the candidates.

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