One of the six Republican candidates in the challenge for governor of Iowa has promised that if successful, he will repeal gay marriage in the state.

Iowa legalised gay marriage in April but Republican challenger Bob Vander Plaats told reporters this week he would use an executive order to put the issue up to the legislature and to a ballot initiative.

He may challenge current Iowa governor Chet Culver for the state leadership in 2010.

Following the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in April, Culver said he would not challenge it and would concentrate on issues such as jobs and the economy instead.

He said: “I urge Iowans who hold beliefs on all sides of this issue to exhibit respect and goodwill. Our state faces many serious challenges. We are in the midst of a serious economic recession. Tens of thousands of our fellow Iowans are without work. We have suffered the worst natural disasters and most difficult recovery our state has ever faced. We must join together and redouble our efforts to work toward solutions that will help Iowans in this time of uncertainty. That is where, I believe, my focus and energies should lie.”

Iowa remains the only midwestern state to allow gay marriage.