A statement from ACLU of Policy Director Pete McRoberts on legislation to reverse and repeal legal protections for transgender Iowans under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

"The Iowa Legislature is considering a proposal to reverse and repeal legal protections for transgender Iowans under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. This simply cannot happen. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa strongly opposes this proposal and we encourage state legislators to stop it in its tracks.

"For more than 15 years, the Iowa Civil Rights Act has protected transgender Iowans from discrimination in housing, in work, and in public accommodations, such as restaurants and hotels. The law works. Back when it was passed, it was long overdue. It means that our long-standing values of equality and fairness belong to everyone. The Iowa Civil Rights Act does not give special rights to anyone. Instead, it guarantees equal rights for people. It’s that simple: equality under the law is for everyone. Nothing more, nothing less.

"It is fundamentally against our principles and our history to take people’s rights away from them. But that’s exactly what this proposal does. That is impossible to reconcile with not just our values but even with our state motto: 'Our Liberties We Prize; Our Rights We Will Maintain.' To remove rights from our people is a violation of our history and of who we are.

"This proposal hurts people. It means a person can be fired, denied work, an apartment, or even a hotel room for no reason, as long as the person who is discriminating says they're doing it because they're transgender. That is not acceptable.

"We must leave the Iowa Civil Rights Act as it is. The government of Iowa has no place, no legitimacy, and no authority to take away the rights of anyone. In fact, the opposite is true: anyone with the power of government behind their actions needs to instead protect and defend the rights of all of us. All Iowans expect that from their elected officials, not only because it’s right but because our Constitution requires it.

"Iowans' civil rights are worth protecting. The Iowa Legislature should reject this proposal now."