***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

House Study Bill 11 passed unanimously through its subcommittee hearing on Thursday afternoon. Republicans Bobby Kaufmann and Jarad Klein joined Democrat Mary Wolfe in supporting the legislation.

The bill would specify that a defense of justification is not available when a person who is the subject of a nonviolent sexual advance commits a violent crime upon another person as the result of that sexual advance or solely as a result of the person’s discovery of, knowledge about or potential disclosure of the victim’s sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

There was some dispute between legislators and a lobbyist from One Iowa, an LGBTQ-promoting group in the state, as to whether the defense has been successfully used. Due to the subcommittee being held virtually, the audio for the lobbyist from One Iowa was inaudible.

In addition to One Iowa’s Kennan Crow, Damian Thompson of GLBT Youth in Iowa Schools Task Force/Iowa Safe Schools spoke in favor of the bill. Amy Campbell of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault also said she was for the bill.

In all, there is not a single group registered against the legislation, which Wolfe called “redundant.”

“I don’t feel that under current Iowa law a person can legally kill someone based only on their sexual orientation,” said Wolfe, who is a lawyer. “I certainly support this bill to the extent I think our law already does that. Oh well, nothing wrong with clarifying it or being a little redundant on such an important issue.”

Wolfe said she has heard from members of her community who said they would like something in Chapter 704 that deals with legal justification making it clear someone cannot claim they were justified in attacking or harming a person of color.

“I’m not going to attempt to amend this and muddy up the waters, but I do think that these are legitimate discussions to have any time that a certain group of people gets singled out as being somehow more likely to do something bad.”

Kaufmann clarified his remarks, saying that other states that did not have the clarifying language saw the defense used, but it has not been successful.

“I would hate for Iowa to be the first state where it is successfully used,” he said.

Crow then corrected the legislators and claimed the defense has been successfully used, but his audio was not coming through.

A question that remains for the legislature is this…

What happens if a college student is out at the bar one night and meets someone they think is a member of the opposite sex. They have some drinks and go back to the dorm or apartment. They begin to get comfortable, the “girl” is on top of the guy, and suddenly the guy can tell the girl is not a guy but a girl. He reacts by shoving the person off, they fall, hit their head and are seriously injured or even killed.

How would this bill impact that situation?

We will let you know when we find out an answer.

It is worth noting that it sounded like Crow was asking for a defense of self-defense to be included in the language of the legislation.

Author: Jacob Hall