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I served on sub for HF2201, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill (appropriately dubbed by Damian Thompson of Iowa Safe Schools).

Interesting, Chair Sandy Salmon brought in an “expert witness” from First Amendment Partnership in Kansas City to speak for ten minutes in favor of the bill (while also offering to let one speaker opposed to the bill ten minutes to speak).

Emily Piper, representing the school boards (who registered against the bill) had the quote of the day, “The bill isn’t about teaching kids how to be gay, it’s about being able to teach history.” For instance, the bill is so broadly written that an educator would have to notify parents when having a discussion about presidential candidates because one is gay.

Keenan Crow of One Iowa, “I worry that we will be discouraging educators to teach certain topics because the bill has such onerous reporting requirements.” A mental health counselor spoke about how the bill would negatively impact her students. It’s ironic that at the same time the Majority Party is holding subcommittees on multiple anti-LGBTQ+ bills, we’re also working on a Children’s Mental Health system. Due to bullying and exclusion, LGBTQ students are more likely to need mental health services.

We heard from a pastor in support of the bill (who actually said, “I take issue with equating this with Black History Month [and bigotry]). Those opposed to the bill all based their disapproval on religious beliefs (most were pastors).

On the “anti” side, we heard from professionals working directly with students.

I see this as a bill of intolerance, and I voted “No” strongly.

Unfortunately, the two Republicans on the sub voted to move it into the full House Education Committee.

And so, the battle against intolerance continues.

Author: Art Staed


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