Ron Paul's campaign is touting the endorsement of Phillip G. Kayser, an Iowa pastor who believes in imposing the death penalty on homosexuals, reports Talking Points Memo.
"We welcome Rev. Kayser's endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul's approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs," said Paul's Iowa chairman, Drew Ivers, in a recent press release on Paul's campaign website.
"Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just," wrote Kayser in a recent pamphlet. "But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative." Kayser added that homosexuals could be prosecuted only after the law was enacted.
TPM adds that Paul's Iowa state director, Mike Heath, led the Christian Civic League of Maine. In that position, he called on his supporters in 2004 to email him with information on the sexual orientation of the state's political leaders.
Paul has had one of the more pro-gay rights records among Republicans in Congress. He voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment and for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. However, he still supports the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allows states not to recognize other states' same-sex marriages. "Like the majority of Iowans, I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman and must be protected," he said in February.
Eric Dondero, a former senior aide to Paul, recently explained Paul's stance on gay rights in light of racist and homophobic newsletters written under his name in the 1980s and 90s that have resurfaced. "He is not all bigoted towards homosexuals. He supports their rights to do whatever they please in their private lives," he wrote. "He is however, personally uncomfortable around homosexuals, no different from a lot of older folks of his era."
Gay rights activist and author Dan Savage recently defended Paul. "And Ron may not like gay people, and may not want to hang out with us or use our toilets, but he's content to leave us the f*** alone and recognizes that gay citizens are entitled to the same rights as all other citizens," he said in Slate. "[Rick] Santorum, on the other hand, believes that his bigotry must be given the force of law. That's an important difference."