From ACLU of Iowa <[email protected]>
Subject Win! Blocking (for now) Iowa's anti-LGBTQ and school book ban law
Date January 17, 2024 4:02 PM
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A federal court has issued a preliminary injunction while litigation proceeds.

Friend –

Just three days before penalties were to go into effect on January 1, Iowa's school book ban and "don't say LGBTQ" law was put on temporary hold by a federal court.

We, along with Lambda Legal and the Jenner & Block law firm, filed a lawsuit in November to challenge three provisions of this law, SF 496, a wide-ranging education law signed by Governor Kim Reynolds.

The law bans books in all grade levels that contain depictions of sex. The court called it "staggeringly broad" and "one of the most bizarre laws" it had ever read. It also pointed out that the law's provisions to eliminate any discussion or mention of gender identity or sexual orientation in grades K-6 meant schools couldn't even identify people as straight, male, or female.

Find out more. <[link removed]>

Schools found the law extremely confusing, and in an effort to comply, dozens of districts pulled hundreds of books from their shelves. The books pulled included many classics and prize-winners, including works by James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Alice Walker, as well as more recent works by LGBTQ+ and minority authors such as All Boys Aren't Blue, The Kite Runner, and The Hate U Give.

The law's attempted erasure of gender identity and sexual orientation shuts down LGTBTQ students from being able to openly discuss who they are or read books that reflect who they are. It also stigmatizes them and gives the harmful message to everyone that being LGBTQ is shameful or wrong.

These provisions are now blocked while litigation continues. Our lawsuit seeks to ultimately block enforcement of the law permanently.

Freedom to information and the freedom to openly express yourself are fundamental rights under the First Amendment, even if you are a student. Rest assured that we'll continue to protect Iowa students' constitutional rights.

Mark Stringer
Executive Director, ACLU of Iowa

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