Without debate, a committee in the Iowa Senate has voted to extend full civil rights protections to gays and lesbians in Iowa. If the bill becomes law, the words "sexual orientation" will be added to Iowa’s civil rights statute which bans discrimination in employment and housing. Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines, says giving civil rights protection to homosexuals is becoming mainstream.
"Many states have already passed this type of legislation, including our Midwest neighbors of Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin," Hatch says. "It is time for Iowa to be included in that list." According to Hatch, nine Iowa cities and several major Iowa employers already provide protection for homosexuals.
"Principal, Meredith, Pioneer and Wells Fargo — to name only a few — have implemented protective policies," Hatch says. "This legislation gives the Iowa Legislature a chance to be part of the movement ridding employment practices of sexual discrimination."
Republican opponents were silent when the Senate State Government Committee passed the bill, but vow to speak out when the bill comes up for debate in the full Senate.