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The current Iowa Civil Rights Code is flawed and in dire need of correction. The removal of gender identity from the Iowa civil rights Act proposed by Rep. Dean Fisher in HF190 doesn’t go far enough. This legislation should be amended to also include removing creed, religion and sexual orientation along with gender identity.

Why do that, you might be asking! Race, color, sex, national origin are all immutable characteristics beyond human choice or control. No one has a choice in picking their parents, where they’re born, or whether they are male or female. Disability can remain because its often not a choice, just a misfortune of age or accident or otherwise. But as for creed, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, those are all choices. Those instances are where people can change their minds, and often do. They all involve abstract thinking or how one perceives or thinks about themself to be. There is nothing concrete about any of them, and most certainly, none of them fit into the category of immutable characteristics.

We are a State of free thinkers. There is no law against how one thinks of themself. The problem arises when one forces by law another to believe or think as they do, like forcing Christian beliefs on another. That argument was even heard with passing of the late school choice bill. What difference does it make if someone doesn’t want religion if they’re not harming another by what they practice to themself? That is the freedom of no religion choice. It hardly matters the reason. But what if we put gender identity on the chopping block? What if some folks don’t want to accept the free thinking abstract thoughts of someone believing they are a male when a female? The fears LGBTQ folks have are unsubstantiated of being persecuted by “judgmental” Christian folk. It’s just not happening! Social phobias just go with the territory of transgenderism. Why should anyone have to change to accommodate self-inflicted fears by persons making the wrong choice?

Even the Fiscal Services Division – Legislative Services Agency reports in a 2007 document concerning SF427 adding gender identity that “The Iowa Civil Rights Commission receives approximately 1,850 complaints annually. Senate File 427 may generate approximately 37 complaints annually.” The fiscal impact of SF427 “may result in an additional 12 cases annually that would be investigated,” was also reported in the same document source.

The numbers reported for discrimination against gender identity and sexual orientation are hardly justifiable reasons to change the civil rights Act compared to all the cases arising from religious and creed discrimination. Maybe some folks just don’t want to be annoyed with burning incense, handed a religious tract or preached to about how they live? Why should anyone be sued for rejecting the religious views of others? Likewise, maybe some folks don’t want to have drag queens at their schools or annoyed by a lifestyle they don’t agree with being forced on their children. Why should they be sued? Parents do have a right to protect their children from potential sexualization and potential abuse, right? Just like some want to protect their kids from religion and not be accused of discrimination, right? False religion can be just as detrimental and harmful to the emotional health of a young mind the same as cultural transgender theology. Neither class should be granted special rights and privileges because of how they think, nor be allowed to use some abstract thought as a cudgel to impose their will over another.

The only practical thing to do is remove protections from how people think from the Iowa civil rights Act. It’s not necessary for the state to be meddling in how people think, protecting some thought and freedom of speech while forcing others into submission; and if someone violates the natural rights to life, liberty and property, or harms a child, then we already have laws on the books to prosecute offenders. Let’s get the state out of the free-thinking business and remove abstract thought and protecting how someone “feels” or is offended from the Iowa civil rights Act altogether – but leave our immutable characteristics alone. We can confidently be assured that removing religion will not be a bad move. Religion is already protected by the 1st Amendment in the federal Bill of Rights and Article I, Section 3, in our Iowa Constitution. Removing religion from the Iowa civil rights Act would be an expendable sacrifice in order to remove something far more sinister like gender identity, wouldn’t you agree?

Protect what is right for Iowans and remove what no one can agree on anyway. There is nothing more divisive than the current Iowa Civil Rights Code! End controversial and pointless litigation along with it. Amend HF190 and remove creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, all abstract thinking, and let Iowans be free to think!

Rick Phillips


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