'Value Voters Bus Tour' Scheduled to Cross Iowa Next Week

By Susan Jones | August 4, 2011 | 6:02 AM EDT

The Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. (Photo courtesy of Iowa Tourism Office)

(CNSNews.com) - Several Republican presidential hopefuls and conservative members of Congress are expected to hop aboard the Values Voters Bus Tour that will stop in 22 Iowa cities next week to deliver a pro-life, pro-traditional-marriage message.

The Family Research Council's lobbying arm, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Susan B. Anthony List announced the tour on Wednesday, the same day the White House announced President Obama's upcoming "jobs" bus tour that will take him to several Midwestern states -- on the taxpayers' dime.

"The Values Voters Bus Tour will speak to the views held by millions of American voters who want to make sure that issues impacting the family and the broader culture are understood and addressed by each of the candidates," said Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins.

Because the Republican presidential race is "clearly wide open," Perkins said social conservatives -- the values voters -- "will be closely watching next week's events as they determine which of the candidates are willing to do what it takes once elected to restore fiscal sanity, protect marriage, safeguard religious liberty and protect the rights of the unborn."

2012 Republican presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum will join the tour, organizers said, and Michele Bachmann is a maybe. Members of Congress expected to participate include Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Louis Gohmert of Texas.

The bus tour begins on Aug. 8 at the State Capitol in Des Moines and will conclude 1,305 miles later at the Ames Straw Poll on Aug. 13.

"It is time to replace Obama with a true pro-life leader in the White House," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Antony List. "That effort begins in Iowa," she added. "The Values Voter Bus Tour is designed to get the word out to straw poll and caucus goers regarding which presidential candidates can be counted on as strong and vocal leaders for women and unborn children."

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said his group wants to be sure that the next president is a "strong and committed supporter of traditional marriage and will commit his or her administration to vigorously defending marriage in the courts, Congress and in the court of public opinion."

In 2009, Iowa became the third state to legalize same-sex marriage when the state supreme court unanimously upheld a lower-court ruling that rejected a state law defining marriage and the union of one man and one woman. One year later, Iowa voters ousted three of those supreme court judges.

Brown said his group contributed to the effort to unseat the judges who imposed same-sex marriage on Iowa by judicial fiat.