Jun 18, 2021 - News

Iowa groups fight to dismantle laws that exclude LGBTQ residents

Illustration of the state of Iowa casting a shadow made of the colors of the Pride flag.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Public sentiment is growing in support of LGBTQ rights, but activists say Iowa's laws need some updating to ensure they're designed to be inclusive of everyone.

Driving the news: Local LGBTQ and progressive groups released a new report listing Iowa's existing laws they believe are exclusionary towards the community.

What they noted:

  • There are no anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ parents wanting to adopt or foster.
  • Iowa doesn't recognize gender identity as a basis for prosecuting a hate crime.
  • Married same-sex couples in Iowa aren't protected under state family and medical leave law, which gives employees time away from work if they're caring for a family member.

The big picture: Nationwide polling shows there's growing support for cisgender gays and lesbians, but there's mixed views on transgender issues, such as military service and youth sports, Gallup reports.

  • Iowa and the rest of the U.S. saw a surge in bills targeting the trans community this year.
  • In 2019, 35 bills were introduced nationwide. That jumped to 150 in 2021.

The bottom line: It's great to see support during Pride Month, but companies and leaders at the Capitol have more work to do behind the scenes to keep LGBTQ Iowans in our state, said Keenan Crow, lobbyist for One Iowa.

Go deeper: Read the full report here.


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