Iowa students join lawsuit over discrimination at Christian colleges

Two Iowa students are among the plaintiffs in a groundbreaking federal class action lawsuit filed this past week. The Portland-based Religious Exemption Accountability Project is suing the U.S. Department of Education and its acting assistant secretary for civil rights, seeking “to put an end to the U.S. Department of Education’s complicity in the abuses and unsafe conditions thousands of LGBTQ+ students endure at hundreds of taxpayer-funded, religious colleges and universities.”

Lauren Hoekstra and Avery Bonestroo are undergraduates at Dordt University in Sioux Center, one of 25 Christian institutions where the 33 plaintiffs are now enrolled or formerly studied.

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The majority should never decide minority rights

On this Transgender Day of Visibility, I want to take a moment to reflect on one part of Selzer & Co’s latest Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. The survey asked 775 Iowa adults whether they supported various Republican proposals, including this one: “Require public school students to use the restroom of the gender assigned at birth even if the student does not identify as that gender now.”

Nick Coltrain summarized the findings: 47 percent of respondents said they favor restricting school bathroom use, 42 percent opposed, and 11 percent were not sure.

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Anti-LGBTQ bills are dead, but their message lives on

First in a series on where things stand after the Iowa legislature’s first “funnel” deadline.

State lawmakers set a depressing record this year for attempting to undermine the rights of LGBTQ Iowans.

Although all fifteen of those bills failed to meet a key legislative deadline last week, three had previously made it through Iowa Senate subcommittees. And none were condemned by Governor Kim Reynolds or GOP leaders in the House or Senate.

Until powerful Republicans disavow efforts to target the LGBTQ community, queer Iowans and particularly trans Iowans face the prospect of more attacks in the GOP-controlled legislature.

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Lights out

Bleeding Heartland user “Bill from White Plains”: It’s been a good ride and a great deal of fun. But let’s be honest: nothing about this state warrants first-in-the-nation status. -promoted by Laura Belin

Oh, if only Ira Lacher’s February 25 piece, “Junk the caucuses? Extend neck. Cut.,” provided some nationally-significant basis on which the national powers-that-be could maintain Iowa as the first-in-the-nation state for choosing presidential candidates!

It does not.

That it does not, did not escape me. Yet, Mr. Lacher, offering no good reason, or any reason really, criticizes Jason Noble and Kevin Cooney for providing what he considers bad reasons for abandoning the Iowa caucuses.

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Ashley Hinson didn't walk her talk on LGBTQ equality

“No person should be discriminated against, no person should be bullied because of who they are, and no person should be discriminated against in the workplace, for any reason,” Republican Congressional candidate Ashley Hinson told an eastern Iowa magazine geared toward LGBTQ readers last fall.

Hinson had a chance to put her stated beliefs into action on February 25, when the U.S. House considered the Equality Act. The bill would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the areas of employment, education, housing, public accommodations, jury service, and access to credit or federal funding. But the new member of Congress from Iowa’s first district voted against it, as did all but three House Republicans (roll call).

Representative Cindy Axne, the lone Democrat in Iowa’s Congressional delegation, co-sponsored the Equality Act and was part of the 224 to 206 majority that approved it.

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