Rep. Jeff Shipley, a Republican and one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told CNN the bill was meant to bridge a gap between the parent and the school about the type of instruction the students receive. Many parents decide to home school their students because of disagreements with the curriculum, he said, and this was a way to rectify that.
He mentioned that maybe the bill should have been broader, so parents could “view whatever curriculum that they want” and so as “not to pick on anyone.”
But, he said this was a good start.
“Because there are so many unknowns (with gender identity and sexual orientation), it just seemed like common sense to make sure parents are involved,” he said. “Because when parents aren’t involved, they tend to get upset.”
Critics say it’s ‘overly vague’
Still, many advocacy groups have lobbied against the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund, the Iowa Conference of United Methodist Church and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa.
Veronica Fowler, the communications director of the ACLU of Iowa, called the bill “overly vague” to CNN.
“Teachers, rightly, have raised concerns about what would and would not need parental approval, citing examples as fundamental as whether or not they could mention that presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is making history as an openly gay presidential candidate,” Fowler said in a statement.
She continued, “The bill also would marginalize and discriminate against LGBTQ students by mandating that they and their sexual orientation or gender identity must be hidden and not discussed.”
“HF2201 would restrict educators from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity,” the group wrote on January 31. They called the bill “uniquely dangerous” given its level of support in the House.
HF 2201 isn’t the only bill critics are calling anti-LGBTQ
It’s not the only proposed legislation that’s drawing the ire of advocate groups.
HF 2202, which shares 12 co-sponsors with HF 2201, including Shipley, was also introduced in January, and would require high school students to participate in sports based on their biological sex.
The bill, One Iowa Action said, would allow discrimination against transgender athletes in Iowa schools.
All this comes amidst burgeoning state legislation politicizing LGBTQ identity.
Still, these types of bills continue to crop up, showing neither legislatures across the country nor LGBTQ advocacy groups are showing signs of backing away from the fight.