Iowa’s “Sorry We Got Caught” Brochure Edit Didn’t Change Bad Law That Still Threatens Churches


By Christiana Holcomb - Posted at ADF:

Some have asked why Alliance Defending Freedom did not drop its lawsuit and declare victory after the Iowa Civil Rights Commission changed its controversial brochure applying a state speech ban and restroom law to churches.

We didn’t drop the lawsuit—because changing the brochure did not make the unconstitutional state law constitutional.

The brochure itself was appalling. For the first time in our nation’s history, a state openly applied its sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) law to churches. According to the state’s own words, Iowa churches that welcome the public to their church services must censor their teaching on human sexuality and open their restrooms, changing facilities, and other sensitive areas to members of the opposite biological sex. Failure to comply is punished with crippling fines.

Numerous voices decried the brochure, including Commissioner Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Iowa commission backpedaled, and just days after ADF announced its lawsuit, pulled the controversial brochure from its website and issued a newly scrubbed version. Nothing, of course, prevents the commission from reissuing the old version at some future point.

But even more concerning, the Commission used the new brochure to entrench its position and insist that the Commission can apply the SOGI law to churches when it determines that a church is somehow engaged in a “non-religious” activity. Minor cosmetic changes to one brochure cannot mask the fact that the Commission still intends to apply the unconstitutional law to churches.

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