A proposed bill in the Iowa state legislature could be so broadly interpreted that it would mean that discussion of any figure, past or present, who was or is an LGBTQ individual, would require parents be notified first before being taught or discussed.
The bill, co-sponsored by 13 Republican lawmakers in the Iowa state House of Representatives, would require districts to notify parents if classroom activities included content discussing anything to do with sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill would allow parents to opt their children out of classes if they didn’t want their students to be involved in those classroom teachings.
Opponents of the bill argue that it could cause serious psychological harm to LGBTQ students or children whose parents or family members identify as such. The bill is also too vague, and could make it difficult to discuss certain topics if a figure happens to be gay.
“What if we’re having a discussion on current events and there’s a presidential candidate — somebody who’s running for the nomination — who’s gay?” Emily Piper, lobbyist on behalf of the Iowa Association of School Boards, said, per reporting from The Des Moines Register. “Can we not have that conversation in a government class, then, without first notifying the parents and allowing them to withdraw their child from the class?”
Blocking Iowa’s public schools from mentioning LGBTQ people and issues does not make them go away. Instead, it encourages discrimination and harassment.
— ACLU of Iowa (@ACLUiowa) February 12, 2020
Piper’s question alluded to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for president in the general election later this year. Buttigieg is an openly gay and married man.
Prejudices against the LGBTQ community remain rampant within American society, even five years after the Supreme Court ruled marriage equality to be the law of the land.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll from October found, for instance, that only 50 percent of Americans would be willing to vote for a candidate that’s openly gay. Thirty-seven percent said they would “probably” or “definitely” not vote for a gay candidate, for the reason of their sexuality alone, even without consideration of their platform.