Fort Des Moines Church of Christ v. Iowa Civil Rights Commission, et al (USA)

Following the Iowa Civil Rights Commission’s publication of a brochure titled “Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity:  A Public Accommodations Provider’s Guide to Iowa Law” which stated that churches are subject to laws governing sex-segregated spaces “[w]here qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose … e.g. a child care facility at a church or a church service open to the public,” the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ (“FDMCC”) filed a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.  According to attorneys representing FDMCC, “[t]he commission’s application of the law censors the church’s teaching on biblical sexuality and forces the church to open its restrooms and showers to members of the opposite sex under certain conditions that the government dictates.”

On October 14, 2016 U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Rose issued an order “denying the Commission’s motion to dismiss the suit, while also denying the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ’s (FDMCC) request for an injunction.”  Satisfied with this decision, attorneys representing FDMCC voluntarily dropped their lawsuit, stating ““The Iowa commission’s guidance was vague and empowered government bureaucrats far beyond what the constitution allows. The court cut off this unconstitutional power grab by clarifying that the law does not apply to churches and reassured Iowa churches that they are free from improper state interference.”

Legal Challenge Dropped After Court Declares Gender Identity Laws Don’t Apply to Churches — October 17, 2016

Fort Des Moines Church of Christ v. Iowa Civil Rights Commission, et al — October 14, 2016

Iowa Civil Rights Commission — brochure

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