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Dan Homan, President, AFSCME Iowa Council 61
Marcia Nichols, Legislative/Political Director, AFSCME Iowa Council 61
The mission of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is to improve the quality of life in our schools, neighborhoods, communities, and for working families. We are committed to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our communities. Discrimination against persons because of their sexual orientation not only violates the basic concept of human rights, but it also translates into economic discrimination.
In Iowa, AFSCME represents 40,000 public employees including law enforcement and correctional officers, home health care and child care providers, firefighters, mental health workers, professional school staff, emergency responders, and many other workers. We represent all Iowa families – gay and straight alike.
All Iowa families need and deserve equal protections, responsibilities, and opportunities to provide security, dignity, and a legal safety net for their families. Unfortunately, thousands of gay and lesbian families in Iowa lack the basic legal protections they need to take care of each other and their families. AFSCME strongly supports ensuring that all Iowa couples and families, regardless of sexual orientation, are guaranteed equal legal protections, rights and benefits.
AFSCME Iowa Council 61 also stands strong against the attempts by some to codify discrimination in our state constitution. Iowa has a long tradition of and commitment to equality and fairness for all people. This proposed constitutional amendment is nothing more than a divisive political tactic that would have an adverse impact on thousands of Iowa families. AFSCME is committed to improving the quality of life for working families – not creating barriers to build strong families and communities.
American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa
Ben Stone, Executive Director
The ACLU of Iowa since 1935 has fought to promote fairness and equality in our state, including both the right to privacy and the right to religious liberty. In recognition of the central role the right to privacy plays in the pursuit of happiness, the ACLU-IA has long advocated for marriage equality. We do this because securing the equal right to civil marriage in no way threatens religious liberty. The government has long recognized rights with which not everyone agrees, including the right to access to birth control and, most recently, the rights of gun owners. Religious institutions are free to disagree with government policy, and nothing in the concept of marriage equality would force a religious group to recognize a marriage it did not wish to recognize.
Iowa Chapter – National Association of Social Workers
Kelli Soyer, Executive Director, NASW – Iowa Chapter
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Iowa Chapter, represents social workers throughout Iowa. As an organization representing social workers, we work to guide policies that affect, not only the social work profession, but issues affecting the individuals we serve and civil rights for all. NASW, Iowa Chapter, supports the mission of One Iowa as they work towards equal protections for all.
In the 2000 Census, over 4,000 households self-identified as being same-sex households. Of those, 1,103 identified as child rearing homes. In our society, marriage is valued as a mechanism to support family unity, health, and well being. Because same-sex couples are not afforded the right to marry, they are unable to access the more than, 1,100 rights afforded to "married" couples.
The inability for same-sex couples to marry in Iowa conflicts with our value of family unity, health, and well-being. Same-sex couples are unable to access spousal and family health insurance, often causing a financial burden of buying individual plans for each partner. Same-sex couples are unable to claim the financial benefits of being married. They lack the ability to file joint tax returns, to transfer assets without incurring state and federal gift tax and estate tax laws, the inability to collect Social Security spousal benefits. The lack of financial protections for LGBT couples provides undue financial burden that negatively affects the family. We fail to provide the basic human rights and protections to support all couples in loving relationships.
One Iowa is instrumental in the movement to support equality and justice for LGBT individuals and couples in Iowa. NASW, Iowa Chapter, believes the state of Iowa should extend same-sex couples the right to enter into civil marriage and to receive all of the accompanying rights, protections, and privileges. NASW, Iowa Chapter, supports the mission and work of One Iowa to assure civil rights for ALL Iowans.