DES MOINES, Iowa – An eight member jury decided that former Governor Terry Branstad did discriminate against former Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey because he is gay. They awarded Godfrey $1.5 million that taxpayers on the hook for.

Branstad had Godfrey’s pay slashed by 35 percent after Godfrey refused to resign after the governor requested it in 2011. Godfrey was confirmed to a six-year term as Commissioner by the Iowa Senate. He claims that Branstad’s actions were because he is gay. Branstad said he wanted a pro-business commissioner and had received complaints from members of the business community about Godfrey who was appointed by former Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack and then reappointed by former Democratic Governor Chet Culver.

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ spokesperson, Pat Garrett, told The Des Moines Register that they are disappointed by the verdict and they will consult with their attorneys to determine what should be done next.

I hope this is appealed, and I’m disgusted that the Iowa Supreme Court did not put a stop to this trial based on the evidence that was allowed.

A recap of the “evidence” allowed by District Court Judge Brad McCall:

  • Branstad’s public policy positions on gay marriage, the Varnum v. Brien Supreme Court decision that allowed same-sex marriage in Iowa, and the constitutional amendment process.
  • Evidence of Branstad’s and staff’s affiliation with the Republican Party of Iowa deemed “anti-gay.”
  • The private religious beliefs of staff members who worked for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry who advised Branstad on Godfrey.
  • Opinion testimony from Democratic lawmakers, who had nothing to do with Branstad’s decision, about the “anti-gay” Republican Party of Iowa.

So, in a nutshell, a jury decided that if you are a Republican or a Christian who believes same-sex marriage is wrong, then you must be guilty of discrimination!

Because, obviously, Republicans and Christians can’t follow the law even though employing someone in a state position is not a reasonable matter of conscience.

Because where is the evidence that shows he took action on Godfrey because of his sexual orientation instead of complaints from the business community over steps he took as Commissioner? There is none. It is all circumstantial.

This is insane. The precedent for this opens the door for any LGBT employee to sue their employer, especially if they are a Christian or a Republican, even if they are fired for cause.

4 comments
  1. Their is a very easy fix here, keep your political and religious views out of the work place. How can you be sued for being a Christian or a Republican if no one knows? Work is a very simple equation: read your job description, show up and perform the objective functions of your job, get your paycheck, go home. We have separation of church and state in this country …. that politicians and lawmakers choose to trumpet their religious beliefs is 100% on them and, as you can see here, it comes at a price.

    1. It would be virtually impossible to keep your religion from being known if you practice that religion in any way. Your comment clearly illustrates the problem, it has become a crime in the eyes of the liberals and Democrats to be a Christian or a Republican. That fact alone is seen as making you a discriminating racist even if you have never done anything to discriminate against anyone in your professional life. The mere fact that your private morals do not allow you to support gay marriage makes you automatically guilty of discriminating against gays. They have made it a crime to be a practicing Catholic in this country. And just for the record, I am not a Catholic and am in fact what could be best described as a secular Jew. I view my Jewish heritage more from a cultural perspective than a religious one and have not been to any religious services besides weddings and funerals in decades.

      There was no evidence presented in this case that the former governor made any personnel decisions based on the race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin of anyone working for him or the state. There was no evidence presented of his ever making any disparaging remarks to any employee at any time. He was basically found guilty by association because the state Republican party is seen as discriminatory based on policy positions of the party and because the Christian faiths are all seen as being anti-gay because their religious moral beliefs see being gay as inconsistent with their faith. It should be noted that while Christian faiths do not accept being gay and being morally acceptable, the church has routinely opened its doors to anyone in need regardless of their sexual orientation and has never turned anyone away from a shelter, soup kitchen, food bank, etc. because of their sexual orientation. This clearly illustrates that it is possible to have deeply held moral beliefs and yet not discriminate against anyone. This was clearly the case with the former governor, but is something that got lost in the hateful rhetoric of the liberals and Democrats, They are, unfortunately, not capable of maintaining this same separation between moral views and public actions.

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