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Earlier this year, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst was formally condemned or censured by Republican county central committees across Iowa due to her vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act. Conservative advocacy groups as well as conservatives in Congress expressed concern over the law, which forces every state to recognize whatever any other state considers “marriage.” And it puts at great risk the religious liberty of Americans, according to those same conservative advocacy groups.

The Mahaska County Central Committee is believed to be the first to censure Ernst over the vote. You can read about that here.

The dominoes fell shortly after that. Yet Ernst remained defiant and defended her vote, which the county central committees said goes directly against the state party platform. That state party platform reads:

“We believe that traditional, two-parent (one male (XY) and one female (XX)), marriage-based families are the foundation to a stable, enduring, and healthy civilization. We encourage the repeal of any laws allowing any marriage that is not between one natural man and one natural woman.”

Rather than trusting Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel and other conservative policy groups, Ernst wants Iowans to trust their religious liberty with Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Susan Collins.

In the midst of these condemnations and censures from various county central committees, Ernst was a featured guest speaker at an event in Washington D.C. The event was closed to the press. It was hosted by Log Cabin Republicans of Washington D.C.

Log Cabin Republicans is an LGBTQ group that advocates for a nationwide ban on counseling for minors as it relates to same-sex attraction or gender identity unless the counseling affirms feelings of confusion.

“As the party of liberty, it is not our goal to tell an adult what they can or cannot do; however, studies of the effects of conversion therapy have concluded that the impact of conversion therapy is often harmful, both psychologically and physically. We condemn the use of conversion therapy and advocate for state and federal legislation that ends its use,” the group’s website states.

The group also advocates for including sexual orientation and gender identity as legally protected groups.

The group has a “proud history” of fighting to build a “stronger, more inclusive Republican Party.”

“LGBT Republicans and straight allies have chosen to transform the GOP from the inside, working to overcome the forces of exclusion and intolerance,” its website states.

As Ernst was being scolded by her constituents in Iowa, she was serving as the featured guest speaker for a group that advocates for what her constituents were upset about.

The event was hosted on March 7 in Washington D.C.

It wasn’t the first time Ernst served as the special guest speaker for the group. She did so in November of 2021 as well.

However, as you can see, there wasn’t a “closed press” label on that event while there was one on the 2023 event. That could be explained due to the heat and pressure Ernst has experienced from Iowans for her vote regarding the Respect for Marriage Act.

The Iowa Standard reached out to Ernst’s office in Washington D.C. on May 15 to ask about her speech and also inquire why the event was closed to the press. Ernst’s office has refused to answer.

Ernst is listed as an “ally” for the Log Cabin Republicans in Congress, along with Representatives Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who also supported the Respect for Marriage Act.


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