Buttigieg making faith-based appeal to voters in 2020 bid

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ABOVE: Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaking at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention in San Francisco. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) | The question was about climate change. The answer soon turned to the Bible.

And Pete Buttigieg knew the verses.

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Washington state Democrats elect lesbian as 1st woman speaker of the House

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ABOVE: Washington state Rep. Laurie Jinkins. (Photo from Facebook)

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) | Democrats elected the first female speaker of the House in Washington state on July 31.

With the selection of state Rep. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma, Washington becomes the eighth state to have a woman in the top spot in the House and is now the second state to have a gay speaker of the House, joining Oregon. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven other states have female speakers of the House: Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont.

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Former Iowa official wins $1.5M in discrimination case

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) | Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and a staffer discriminated against the state’s then-commissioner of workers’ compensation in 2011 because he’s gay, and the ex-official is entitled to $1.5 million for emotional distress, a jury said July 15.

Polk County jurors found that Chris Godfrey not only proved the discrimination occurred, but also showed he was retaliated against in the form of a pay cut after refusing to quit.

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Kirsten Gillibrand spends time with drag queens in Iowa gay bar

By : Mariah Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) dropped by gay bar Blazing Saddle in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday night where she spent some quality time with the drag queens.

The Democratic presidential hopeful hung out with the queens backstage at Blazing Saddle, known as the “Gay Cheers” since its 1983 opening, did her makeup with them and even lent one queen her dress.

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VIDEO: Buttigieg supporters drown out anti-LGBTQ heckler

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg calmly dismissed anti-LGBTQ hecklers with the help of his supporters during his first visit to Iowa April 16.

The initial heckler confronted Buttigieg at a town hall in Fort Dodge, the AP reports, after Buttigieg discussed marriage equality. “You betray your baptism!” the protester said before being escorted from the gathering.

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Iowa pollster: Pete Buttigieg strikes chord, could be ‘dark horse’

By : Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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In the aftermath of an Iowa poll this week placing Pete Buttigieg in a surprising third place among other candidates, the political expert behind the data said the gay 2020 hopeful could achieve a “dark horse” victory next year.

Spencer Kimball, a professor in political and sports communication at Emerson College, said the poll marks a distinct change for Buttigieg, who was polling at zero in Iowa just two months ago.

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Iowa court: Medicaid can cover sex reassignment surgery

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The Iowa Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling March 8 that says the state cannot deny two transgender women Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgery.

The state’s high court agreed with Judge Arthur Gamble’s ruling in June that a 1995 Iowa Department of Human Services policy denying Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgery violates the state’s 2007 Civil Rights Act, which added gender identity to the state’s list of protected classes.

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Jury sides with transgender employee in ‘historic’ Iowa case

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) | A jury ruled Feb. 13 that an Iowa prison warden discriminated against a transgender employee by denying him the use of men’s restrooms and locker rooms in a verdict that advocates call “historic.”

Jurors also found that the state executive branch discriminated against Jesse Vroegh by offering medical benefits that would not cover his gender reassignment surgery. After making those findings, the eight-member jury awarded $120,000 in damages for emotional distress to Vroegh, 37, a former nurse at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville.

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Concerns about bullying lead district to suspend principal

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AMES, Iowa (AP) | Concerns about student-to-student bullying have led the Ames school district to suspend its middle school principal.

District spokesman Eric Smidt says the decision to move out principal Dan Fox wasn’t based off just one incident but rather was an effort to improve Ames Middle School.

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Iowa judge rules transgender women deserve surgery coverage

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa cannot deny two transgender women Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgery, a state court judge ruled Thursday, declaring a policy denying their care violates the Iowa Constitution and its civil rights law.

Carol Ann Beal of northwest Iowa and EerieAnna Good of the Quad Cities in eastern Iowa filed the lawsuit last year after their Medicaid provider and the Iowa Department of Human Services denied surgery requests recommended by doctors.

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Petition calls for separating LGBT materials in Iowa library

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ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) — Residents in northwest Iowa are fighting over a petition that calls on the public library to separate material dealing with LGBTQ issues and to request public input before acquiring such material.

Some expressed support for the Orange City Public Library’s integration of LGBTQ materials at a library board meeting Tuesday, the Sioux City Journal reported .

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Justice Dept. to help in Iowa case of slain transgender teen

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has sent a federal hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to help prosecute a man charged with killing a transgender teenager last year, an unusual decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions even as he takes other steps to erode the rights of transgender people broadly.

The case involves Jorge Sanders-Galvez, 23, who is charged with killing 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson in Burlington, Iowa, in March 2016. Authorities have not disclosed a motive, but Johnson’s relatives say he may have been targeted because he identified as both male and female.

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