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An Iowa House primary between Republican Representatives Jeff Shipley and Joe Mitchell was defined by one major issue — the inclusion of gender identity in the Iowa Civil Rights Code.

Iowa is one of 22 states that has protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in its civil rights code. It is one of just two states that President Donald J. Trump won that has the protections in law.


Despite having control of the state government for the last six years, Republicans have kept those protections in state law.

Representative Joe Mitchell embraced keeping gender identity protections in the civil rights code. Shipley has been one of the most vocal supporters of removing it.

The inclusion of gender identity in the civil rights code is often cited by school districts or local government officials when discussing bathroom anarchy — biological boys using the girls’ restroom, for example. It was the reason given for Pella allowing a teen biological female to go topless at the city pool. The Iowa Supreme Court has cited it as the reason Iowans have to pay for sex-change surgeries.

Now schools in Iowa will keep secret from parents “gender” plans of seventh-grade students. This means if your little boy prefers to pretend to be a little girl at school, the school won’t tell you unless the boy gives it the OK.

There was a huge difference of opinion on this topic in the race between Shipley and Mitchell. Shipley has been attacked over and over by radical LGBTQ advocates. Mitchell has spoken in favor of banning conversion therapy in the past and was palling around with the Log Cabin Republicans, who want sexual orientation and gender identity to be protected federally and also want to ban conversion therapy for minors.

Full disclosure, I had a long conversation with Mitchell about this issue at the Capitol. I will not share specifics from that conversation. But I will say in the end he and I agreed to disagree on the dangers presented by including gender identity in the civil rights code, as well as how badly Iowa parents want it out of there.

It is nothing personal against Mitchell, my hope for him is that he comes around on a couple of key issues. He is plenty young and I find it hard to believe he’ll be out of the political picture for long.

But as I told him the day we talked at the Capitol, as a father of a daughter, this issue is a big deal. It’s huge. Our little girls shouldn’t have to use the bathroom stall next to a 40-year-old man in a skirt who thinks he is a woman.

Not here. Not in Iowa.

We can visit California for that stuff.

The gender identity issue was also present in the race between Helena Hayes and Rep. Dustin Hite, which Hayes won. And I imagine it was at least a minor factor in the race between Rep. Dean Fisher and Rep. Dave Maxwell, which Fisher won. Fisher, after all, has been the lead sponsor on legislation removing gender identity from the civil rights code.

This is a big issue. It’s pivotal. There is nothing to suggest the LGBTQ agenda will stop here and be content with adult men using the bathroom stall next to little girls. Something else we can’t even think of today will pop up five or 10 years down the road if we allow it to continue.

At some point, a line must be drawn in the sand. And we must say no, enough is enough. Thankfully we should have more advocates on this issue at the Capitol in the future.

Author: Jacob Hall

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