Iowa Senate passes bill that allows student orgs to discriminate

DES MOINES — The Iowa Senate passed bill SF 2344 on Wednesday, civil rights group One Iowa said on Wednesday. The bill would allow student groups to discriminate against LGBTQ students while still getting school funding.

The bill was in response to a lawsuit by Business Leaders in Christ against the University of Iowa.The group had denied a leadership position to a member who is gay, in violation of the university’s nondiscrimination policy.

“Freedom of speech is a necessity and bedrock principle of higher education,” One Iowa Action Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said in a statement. “However, this bill goes farther than ensuring freedom of speech on college campuses. It gives campus groups the ability to discriminate against others because of who they are while accessing public funds and publicly subsidized venues.”

The bill still needs to by passed by the Iowa House and signed by the governor.

The lawsuit is still active. In January, a judge ordered the university to allow the group to participate in a recruitment fair, according to the Gazette of Cedar Rapids.

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