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-Iowa: Churches Must Comply with Transgender Bathroom Laws?

by Dr. D ~ July 6th, 2016


The Civil Rights Commission of at least one state (Iowa) seems to be declaring that churches must comply with the state’s transgender bathroom laws regardless of the first amendment since they are ‘open to the public.’ Here’s the story from Todd Starnes of  Fox News:

Is a church a place of public accommodation and if so – are congregations required to follow anti-discrimination laws regarding gender and sexual orientation?

That’s the issue raised by a brochure published by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. They contend that any church that opens its doors to the public would be required to comply with sexual orientation and gender identity laws.  …

It’s unclear when the Commission’s brochure was published, but it clearly outlines their interpretation of the 2007 Iowa Civil Rights Act – known as Iowa Code Chapter 216.  …

The brochure on sexual orientation and gender identity has a section titled, “Does this law apply to churches?”  …

“Does this law apply to churches? Sometimes.  Iowa law provides that these protections do not apply to religious institutions with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to bona fide religious purpose. Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions. (e.g. a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public.”

<Read the whole article>

Response: So the Iowa Commission seems to be contending that if a church service is “open to the the public” then it is subject to abiding by the transgender bathroom laws of the state including providing for appropriate facilities and using the proper pronouns as requested.

My question is this- what church does not open their religious services to the public? Also, what right does the Iowa Commission have in judging what can be considered as a “bona fide religious purpose.”

Lawsuits and court action will be following. You can also count on the fact that this will not be the last state to try an take a similar action. Also look for some courts to judge that this issue is more important than the First Amendment and then it will be another issue for the Supreme Court to eventually rule on.

The makeup of the Supreme Court at that time will be very important when it comes to maintaining religious liberty in America. The next president could have far more influence then many realize in defining the future direction of the country in regards to the Constitution and religious liberty in particular through future appointments to SCOTUS.               *Top

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3 Responses to -Iowa: Churches Must Comply with Transgender Bathroom Laws?

  1. Brian

    There was a Mennonite couple in Iowa named Odgaard who operated a wedding chapel. They turned away a gay couple, citing religious reasons for doing so. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission landed on them like a ton of bricks.

    This is a quote from Eric Baxter of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:

    “It’s shocking that the state prefers forcing Betty and Richard Odgaard to close the Görtz Haus Gallery, rather than allowing them make a living without violating their religious beliefs.”

    As you may have determined from the foregoing quote, the same Iowa Civil Rights Commission essentially drove the Odgaards out of their business, forcing them to close.

  2. -Iowa Civil Rights Commission Backs Down and Supports Religious Freedom | ANSWERS For The Faith

    […] -Iowa: Churches Must Comply with Transgender Bathroom Laws? […]

  3. -Federal Court: Iowa Churches Protected From Intrusive State ‘Transgender’ Law | ANSWERS For The Faith

    […] July The Civil Rights Commission in Iowa declared that churches must comply with the state’s transgende… regardless of the first amendment since they were ‘open to the public’ for worship services. […]

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