GOP Bill Would Make “Political Ideology” Protected Class in Iowa Civil Rights Act

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Political ideology would join race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other classes protected in the Iowa Civil Rights Act if a Republican proposal to the Iowa legislature were to become law.

Republican supporters of the bill say protection of political ideology is necessary to fight “culture cancellation”, which they say has had the effect of targeting supporters of former President Donald Trump and others.

“I put forward this proposal because more and more the culture of cancellation, social media giants, big tech and others seem determined to silence and destroy those who do not agree with it. their philosophy, ”said Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, sponsor and chair of Bill. of the House Judiciary Committee.

The proposal, House Study Bill 67, was submitted to a three-member subcommittee on Wednesday and is now eligible for consideration by the full committee.

Rep. Skyler Wheeler, R-Orange City, also supported the bill at Wednesday’s subcommittee.

“We’ve seen the culture of cancellation really pop up across the country. It’s really disturbing. They want to yell at you if you have bad opinions or wrong views. We’ve seen people get censored,” did he declare.

“Cancel culture” is a term used, especially by people who are conservative in their ideology, to backlash political views.

Representative Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, stressed that the bill would not prevent people from refusing to interact with people whose political beliefs they dislike. The Civil Rights Act protects people from discrimination in employment, wages, public housing, housing, education, and credit practices if they fall into one of the protected classes of the law.

Keenan Crow, a lobbyist for One Iowa, an LGBTQ rights organization that opposes the bill, said the group was not opposed to protecting those engaged in political activities, but the addition of a class protected under the Iowa Civil Rights Act is not the right way to do it.

“When we use the Iowa Civil Rights Act and include this additional protected class, I think there is a lot more possibility that unintended consequences will occur because we are literally prohibiting the government and the whole sector to do certain types of actions under these circumstances, ”Crow said.

Wolfe agreed that she wanted to think more about the unintended consequences that could result from the bill.

“I agree that we all embrace the concept of free speech and free thought and all that, but I’m not sure at this point that it’s the right vehicle,” Wolfe said.

Iowa law currently prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry, and disability. Lawmakers added gender identity in 2007 when Democrats regained control of the Iowa Legislature and took over as governor with the election of Gov. Chet Culver.

Republicans are currently in their fifth year of control of the House, Senate and governor’s office.

Last year, some Republican officials proposed a bill that would have removed gender identity from Iowa’s civil rights law, but Holt blocked the proposal from going forward. This bill has been widely criticized by civil rights and LGBTQ groups.

Stephen Gruber-Miller covers the Iowa Statehouse and politics for the registry. He can be reached by email at sgrubermil@registermedia.com or by phone at 515-284-8169. Follow him on Twitter at @sgrubermiller.



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