Several families have started a legal battle to stop a new law in Iowa. Rules are meant to protect us, sometimes from ourselves, but some people believe this should not be allowed.
Why? It’s because this new law bans LGBTQ+ books from school libraries. It also forbids teachers from raising such issues and forces them to inform parents of their ward’s gender identity.
The law earned approval from the Republican-led Legislature and was enacted this fall. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and Lambda responded by announcing a federal lawsuit. It says the law “seeks to silence LGBTQ+ students, erase any recognition of LGBTQ+ people from public schools, and bans books with sexual or LGBTQ+ content.”
With this law in place, teachers can’t raise gender identity and sexual orientation topics with students through grade six. School administrators will also have no choice but to notify parents if students demand to change their pronouns or names.
ALSO READ: 12 Countries with Strict Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws
The law bans books that blatantly depict sex acts from school libraries. However, it excludes religious texts, such as the Christian Bible. The lawsuit plaintiffs are Iowa Safe Schools, an activist organization for LGBTQ+ children, seven Iowa students between the fourth and 12th grades, and their families.
It aims to get an injunction blocking the law while the lawsuit plays out in court. Should they succeed, they hope to have the ordinance declared unconstitutional as a violation of students’ and teachers’ free speech and equal protection rights.
ACLU attorney Thomas Story’s statement reads: “The First Amendment does not allow our state or schools to remove books or issue blanket bans on discussion and materials simply because a group of politicians or parents find them offensive.”
From January 1, 2024, anybody caught flouting the law is at risk of disciplinary action. This could include termination and loss of their state professional education license.
In response to this, many schools across Iowa have initiated a sort of title genocide. Only this one targets content relevant to LGBTQ+ students, including LGBTQ+ characters, historical figures, or themes.
The ACLU said: “As a result of the ban, LGBTQ+ students are denied the comfort of narratives that include LGBTQ+ characters and the solace that they are not alone.”
Many Republicans are backing laws like these in Iowa and other states. These laws bar educators from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation issues.
They also restrict the restrooms transgender students can use and ban treatments like puberty blockers and hormone therapy for trans minors. However, the minority group is fighting back, with many filing lawsuits in court.
Republican lawmakers believe the laws are helping to affirm parents’ rights and protect children. There is now no doubt that these topics will come up a lot in manifestos and electoral debates as the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination intensifies.
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