April 26, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

DES MOINES – The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the Iowa legislature for approving a bill outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The bill, which was approved earlier by the Iowa Senate, passed the Iowa House of Representatives late last night by a vote of 59-37.  Governor Chet Culver has already said that he would sign the bill into law.

“We are extremely proud that the state legislature has made it clear that discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iowans will no longer be tolerated,” said Ben Stone, Executive Director of the ACLU of Iowa.  “All people deserve the same ability to work and support themselves and their families and to live free of discrimination.”

When the bill is signed into law, it will protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, credit, housing and education.  

“This law falls in line with Iowans who value hard work and fairness,” said Stone.  “This law guarantees that Iowans will be judged on their abilities rather than their sexual orientation or gender identity.” 

Iowa and Oregon have passed anti-discrimination laws this year, making these states the 18th and 19th states to pass civil rights protections for gay people.  Both of these laws also include protections for gender identity.  There are currently eight states with laws that specifically protect transgender people.  When the governors in Iowa and Oregon sign the laws into effect, there will be 10.

The ACLU of Iowa worked in conjunction with a large coalition of statewide groups to pass the bill.  A copy of the bill is available at www.aclu.org/lgbt/discrim/29509leg20070426.html.  

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