A federal judge on Friday afternoon overturned an order that prohibited books from referencing LGBTQ people’s sex practices, but sections of the law will remain in effect.
A portion of the law that compels school officials to notify parents if their child wishes to use a pronoun linked to gender identification was upheld by the judge.
Senate File 496 was challenged by Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Iowa, and the law firm Jenner and Block. The legislation would have taken effect on Monday.
“We are glad that our clients, Iowa families, and students, will be able to continue the school year free from the harms caused by these parts of this unconstitutional law,” said Nathan Maxwell, senior attorney at Lambda Legal. “This decision sends a strong message to the state that efforts to ban books based on LGBTQ+ content, or target speech that sends a message of inclusion to Iowa LGBTQ+ students cannot stand.”
The notion that there is a debate over the concerns, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds, is “ridiculous.”
“I’m extremely disappointed in today’s ruling,” Reynolds said Friday evening in a statement. “Gender identity and sexual orientation instruction have no place in kindergarten through sixth-grade classrooms.” And there should be no doubt that books with sexually explicit content, as defined by Iowa law, have no place in a school library for children. The real debate should be about why society is so obsessed with sexualizing our children at such a young age. It’s wrong, and I’ll keep doing my part to safeguard their innocence.”
Attorney General Brenna Bird expressed disappointment with the decision.
“Sexually explicit books do not belong in our elementary-school libraries or classrooms,” said Bird in a statement. “It’s not just common sense; it’s also the law.” As Attorney General, I will continue to battle to protect families, uphold the law, and keep improper literature out of the hands of schoolchildren.”
Last month, Penguin Random House, the Iowa State Education Association, and writers Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Malinda Lo, and Jodi Picoult filed a separate legal challenge to SF496.