Urgent: contact Iowa House reps immediately on Civil Rights Bill

I just received an e-mail from The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. The Civil Rights bill hangs in the balance, and the time to e-mail your representatives in the Iowa House is now (Tuesday or Wednesday). Or, you can call during the day on Wednesday.

After the jump, I've posted the full text of the e-mail, as well as talking points about the legislation and information on how to contact your legislator by phone or e-mail.

If you believe in ending discrimination against the GLBT community, please act on this appeal.

Dear TIA Iowa Action Fund Friends and Activists,

The time to act is now!  Please help pass the historic civil rights legislation adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Iowa Civil Rights Code by calling or emailing your legislator today or Wednesday.

If you know your Representative is supportive, thank them for their continued support of the Civil Rights Legislation (SF 427).

If you don't know your Representative's position or if you know they are opposed, URGE them to vote Yes! in support of the Civil Rights legislation.

Please also contact Representative Chris Rants (House minority leader) to urge him to allow a "Free Vote" in the Republican Caucus.

A large coalition of organizations (including The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund) and individuals has worked ALL session on this legislation.  We are so excited that it has a chance to pass this year and become law.

But we need your help!  Call or email your Representative today or Wednesday and make your voice heard.  If it is applicable, tell them that as a person of faith you believe all people should be free from discrimination, including people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender.

See Brad Clark 's email below with details about how to contact your Representative and other key Representatives to contact.  Talking points about the issue are also provided.

With much appreciation for all that you do to promote the progressive voice of faith and goodwill,

Connie

Connie Ryan Terrell

Executive Director

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa & Action Fund

"promoting the positive and healing role of religion in public life..."

PO Box 41086

Des Moines, IA  50311

Office: 515-279-8715

Fax: 515-279-2232

www.iowatia.org

tiaiowa@dwx.com

Attached to Connie Ryan Terrell's e-mail was a message from Brad Clark, executive director of Safe Schools:

Friends and Colleagues-

Your help is needed NOW to help end discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Iowans!  The Civil Rights Bill (SF 427) is still awaiting full approval by the Iowa House - and it can still happen this week!

This bill will ensure ALL Iowans have workplaces and communities that are free from discrimination and harassment.  No one deserves to have their employment terminated or housing denied simply for being gay or lesbian.  We need your help in creating a safe, inclusive environment for ALL Iowans by helping pass the Civil Rights Bill that will protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  This bill will help create an Iowa that does not promote discrimination. 

You can help in two CRITICAL ways:

1) Call and email your legislators in the Iowa House and ask them to support the Civil Rights bill.  Below are talking points for your reference-but your personal stories and examples are more important than anything else!  To find your Representative, go to http://www.legis.sta...

House Switchboard: 515-281-3221

Email: FIRST.LAST@legis.state.ia.us
  2) Call and email Minority Leader Christopher Rants and key House Republicans immediately!  Ask them to urge their leader to fulfill his previous commitment to allow a FREE VOTE on the Civil Rights Bill .  Civil Rights deserve an up-or-down vote - free from political games.

House Switchboard: 515-281-3221

Key Republican Emails: Christopher.Rants@legis.state.ia.us, Richard.anderson@legis.state.ia.us, dan.clute@legis.state.ia.us, chuck.gipp@legis.state.ia.us, Clarence.Hoffman@legis.state.ia.us, libby.Jacobs@legis.state.ia.us, linda.miller@legis.state.ia.us, Scott.Raecker@legis.state.ia.us, Bill.Schickel@legis.state.ia.us, David.Tjepkes@legis.state.ia.us, Walt.Tomenga@legis.state.ia.us, tami.wiencek@legis.state.ia.us
  Your help is critical to the passage of this very important piece of legislation.  Thank you!

Brad Clark

Executive Director

Iowa Safe Schools

Talking Points
  A principle foundation of our nation is that all men and women are created equal.  Unfortunately, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have historically and pervasively been singled out for discrimination and harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  They can be fired from their job, kicked out of their apartment or a restaurant, and denied credit, simply because of their sexual orientation.  All Iowans deserve workplaces and communities that are free from discrimination and harassment.  However, LGBT Iowans are not currently provided this protection from discrimination or harassment, as are all other Iowans.  Iowans deserve and expect fairness for all.
  Employment

·  40% of gay and lesbian adults in America 's workplaces report facing some form of hostility or harassment.  *

·  10% of gay and lesbian adults state they were fired or dismissed unfairly from a job because of their sexual orientation. *

·  86% of Fortune 500 companies protect their gay and lesbian employees from harassment and discrimination.

·  18 states and countless cities and local governments have already passed civil rights protections for their gay and lesbian citizens.

·  In Iowa , eight cities, one county, the majority of colleges and universities, and several major employers including Pioneer Hi-Bred, Pella Corporation, Principal Financial, Hon Industries, Wells Fargo, Alliant Energy, Qwest, and Rockwell Collins, among others, protect gay and lesbian citizens and employees from discrimination.
  What will the law do?

·  Prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  What the law will NOT do

·  Does not require or permit same sex marriage.  Iowa law already prohibits same sex marriage (Defense of Marriage Act).
  Small Business Exemption - also part of current civil rights law

·  Small businesses with fewer than 4 employees

·  Employees who work within the residence of the employer

·  Employees who give personal care to the employer or the employer's family
  Housing Exemption - also part of current civil rights law

·  Owner occupied duplexes

·  Single dwelling, fewer than 4 rooms, if owner resides (e.g. boarding house with common areas)

·  Building with fewer than 4 independent units and owner resides and qualifies for  homestead credit (no common areas, less contact between owner and tenants

·  Housing for  persons  55 and older
  Religious Exemption - also part of current civil rights law

·  Religious institution/school (which) may impose a religious qualification on employees who work for the institution/school as long as the religious qualification is necessary for that employee's job functions.  The institution/school is not allowed to discriminate based on other protected characteristics such as age, disability, etc.

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