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Iowa Republicans give up on removing transgender people from state’s civil rights protections

Iowa Republicans give up on removing transgender people from state’s civil rights protections

The sponsor of a bill in the Iowa legislature that would have removed transgender people from the state’s Civil Rights Act has announced that the proposal won’t move forward.

Nine GOP state representatives introduced HF 2164, which proposed “removing gender identity as a protected class under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.” Now, Republican Rep. Steven Holt – who chairs the Iowa House Judicial Committee presiding over the hearings for the bill – has announced that the bill won’t be considered any further.

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“It’s dead,” Holt said. “It just would have had a lot of unintended consequences.”

Rep. Dean Fisher (R) sponsored the proposal to address “a whole host of issues” that he claims transgender people cause the state. He cited examples such as ensuring trans women inmates in the state are housed in women’s facilities and trans women athletes competing with fellow women, although neither of those have widely reported ‘issues’ in Iowa.

Fisher also expressed hope that removing trans people would pave a way to allow Iowa medical providers to remove gender affirming surgery as a Medicaid-approved procedure.

Gender identity had been included in the state’s civil rights act by amendment since 2007. Several civil rights groups, including the ACLU, were highly critical of the proposal, saying it would set the clock back in Iowa.

“Discriminating against transgender people — or any Iowans — will not make them, or us, go away or stop being who they are,” Mark Stringer, ACLU Iowa executive director, told NBC News. “We’ll continue to remind legislators of the obvious: Transgender people already do exist; they aren’t going anywhere; and they have large communities of Iowans fighting for equality and dignity right alongside them.”

While Holt does not disagree with his fellow Republican’s proposal, but knows it would not get the support to pass in the Iowa House of Representatives. The only group known to support the proposal was the evangelical Christian group The Christian Leader, which also opposes same-sex marriage.

In 2018, Iowa Republicans filed a bathroom bill that would have amended the state’s civil rights act to allow employers and business owners to ban transgender people from bathrooms and other facilities. That bill also did not pass.

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