Iowa Lawmakers Threaten To Defund Community College For Sponsoring LGBT Youth Conference

iowawelcomesAnti-gay bullying has usually been something even ardent conservatives have come out against. Usually, but not in the case of more than a dozen Republican legislators in Iowa, who are threatening to defund a community college unless it stops sponsoring an LGBT-youth conference this week.

In all, 16 lawmakers signed a pledge to cut $25 million in state funding from the Des Moines Area Community College, which is helping to put together the Iowa Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth, which is organized by Iowa Safe Schools.

They also attacked LGBT advocates for speaking out against anti-gay radio host Jan Mickelson, who has said that AIDS is God’s punishment, that “homosexuality is intrinsically promiscuous,,” and that a busload of nuns protesting Paul Ryan’s budget measures should be “pistol-whipped.”

At a press conference on Thursday, the Iowa Family Leader issued a statement. (In case you’ve forgotten the Iowa Family Leader is head by our old friend Rep. Bob Vander Plaats):

Based on our desire and commitment to be faithful stewards of our tax dollars, we cannot in good conscience vote to give taxpayer dollars to people or to groups who pervert the Bible, teach our youth to engage in dangerous behavior, and target individuals like Jan Mickelson for hatred and bullying.

We have proof that the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Diversity Commission is using tuition and taxpayer monies to sponsor the Governor’s LGBTQ Youth Conference, as a result of information obtained by the DMACC Young Americans for Freedom chapter, through a Freedom of information Act (FOIA) request.

Therefore, we Representatives of the people of Iowa, will vote against appropriations for DMACC unless they withhold taxpayers’ dollars from the Governor’s LGBTQ Youth Conference.

What’s going on in this conference that has lawmakers so livid? A skim of the schedule reveals workshops on lesbians in the media, substance-abuse prevention, homophobia in sports and how to address bullying. Scary stuff indeed.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #desmoinesareacommunitycollege #education #iowa stories and more


  • Taliaferro

    I grew up in Iowa and left it as soon as I was able to. Coming out in 1969 was no picnic, though I lived in Iowa City and if a gay person must live in Iowa, that is the best and safest place to do so. However, the state legislature is rife with elderly white male Republicans who apparently have nothing better to do than fret about any topic that might include the LGBT community. With all the economic problems the state has, one would think they would embrace anything that would bring income into the state. Iowans can be generous and open and broad minded – unless they are aged GOP.


    I must say that I am somewhat shocked. Doesn’t Iowa have marriage equality? I’m not familiar with the strength of the Republican Party in Iowa, but they sound somewhat Bible-Beltish…

  • singforfood

    If I were the college, I would say “I double-dog fucking dare you.” That court case would be over so fast, their heads would spin. I mean, they actually said “pervert the Bible” for shitting out loud…

  • Dakotahgeo

    Let the old white Republican bastards defund the whole damn college if they want. The days of political bullying are over! The arrogance of the TPod/American christian Taliban knows no end and they need to be quarantined ASAP! They have absolutely no worth to this planet!
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  • LGBTYouthAlliesDotCom

    It is very disappointing and scary that the anti-LGBT activists are targeting the safe-schools conference like this. Fortunately, on the fundamental public policy issues, the state of Iowa backs fairness and inclusion regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity–something that the anti-LGBT activists shamefully ignore. Iowa’s formal commitment to equality is something that students should remember–and they should be reminded if they don’t know. ( More thoughts on that here: )
    Still, even with law and policy on the side of inclusion, the struggles goes on…
    MK (

  • terranboy

    FYI – There is no support for this outside the 16 activist reps. In the Republican controlled House, the Speaker has stated that there are no plans to even consider a bill that might come out of that pledge. There is virtually zero support for the idea in the Democratically controlled Senate.

Comments are closed.