GOP plan to strip gender identity from Iowa Civil Rights Act is halted

DES MOINES — A small group of Republican state lawmakers proposed removing gender identity from the Iowa Civil Rights Act, but a Republican committee chair tweeted Wednesday night that he won’t allow the bill to advance.

Opponents say the legislation would eliminate anti-discrimination protections for transgender Iowans. Keenan Crow, a lobbyist for the group One Iowa, says the bill is extreme and mean-spirited.

“A transgender person could be denied a car loan because they’re transgender,” Crow says. “A landlord could refuse to rent them an apartment because they’re transgender. They could be fired simply for being transgender, even if they’re going a great job at their place of employment.”

Representative Skyler Wheeler, a Republican from Orange City, is one of the bill sponsors. He says the goal of the legislation was to protect women’s rights.

Wheeler says, “I would like to know that there’s not going to be a biological male in the same bathroom as my wife, or when my daughter gets old enough to go to school, that there’s not a biological male in the same locker room as her.”

The legislature added gender identity to the Iowa Civil Rights Act in 2007.