The Column

Around the Region: Iowa lawmaker calls Westboro Baptist Church ‘domestic terrorists’

Iowa
*The saga of a University of Iowa’s women’s field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum continues as the university reassigned her partner after Griesbaum sued for discrimination, ESPN reports:

The University of Iowa is reassigning senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer, saying she cannot remain in the department while her partner sues the school for discrimination.
Meyer is the partner of former Iowa women’s field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum, who is planning a lawsuit contending that she and other gay female coaches have faced bias based on gender and sexual orientation. Meyer had been the senior woman administrator, a role in which she is charged with ensuring women’s programs are treated fairly, and oversaw the department’s construction projects.
Athletic director Gary Barta said in a memo last week that keeping Meyer in the position she’s held since 2001 “has presented many challenges” in recent months as the department prepares to defend against Griesbaum’s claims. He wrote that an assistant attorney general advised that Meyer be reassigned “until these matters are resolved.”

*An Iowa lawmaker is trying to ban the anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church from protesting at funerals of fallen soldiers. He also called the group “domestic terrorists.” The Gazette reports:

An Eastern Iowa lawmaker is getting “insane amounts” of support for his effort to ban protests that involve desecrating the American flag at funerals of fallen soldiers.
“I’d say 99 percent are positive and then there is a fringe 1 percent who have ridiculous reasons for opposing my efforts,” said Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton.
In the wake of a federal-court decision in favor of Westboro Baptist Church members who have demonstrated at soldiers’ funeral by wearing, walking on, and spitting on the flag while shouting gay slurs, Kaufmann is proposing legislation to curb protests.
Speaking on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning, Kaufmann called the demonstrators “verbal domestic terrorists.” He wants a ban on such demonstrations or to limit their proximity to funerals and burials.

Wisconsin
*Conservative Catholics are incensed after an employee training manual at the Marquette University, a catholic school, suggested that opposition to marriage equality could be construed as harassment.

Professors at Marquette University in Wisconsin are told to report critics of gay marriage to the school’s human resources department. The anti-harassment policy at the Jesuit college may reflect a change in tone for some members of the Catholic Church, an institution that opposes same-sex marriage.
The Catholic News Agency reports that the training manual given to Marquette University employees includes a comic strip about a fictional character called “Harassed Hans,” a man in a wheelchair, whose coworkers have been “talking about their opposition to same-sex marriage” all week. “Hans is offended, but he struggles with whether to report the situation,” the comic says.

*Lawyers who successfully argued the case that brought marriage equality to Wisconsin want their bills to be paid by the state, WTAQ reports:

They won the landmark case, now they want to be paid.
Lawyers who successfully argued that Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage should be overturned now want the court to award them $1.2 million in legal costs.
A group of same-sex couples had sued the state over its ban. A federal judge overturned the state amendment last summer and the U.S. Supreme Court let his decision stand.
The lawyers filed for attorney fees and other expenses Friday in Milwaukee. They say the costs are so high because the state fought their effort so vigorously.
13 lawyers say they and a team of paralegal spent almost 2,400 hours working on the case.

*Westboro Baptist Church is doing a tour of southeast Wisconsin, according to the Gazette:

The Westboro Baptist Church, one of the most rabid hate groups in America, will be spreading their own version of holiday cheer throughout Wisconsin this month. The group has already protested at Bradford High School in Kenosha, Horlick High School in Racine and at a variety of locations in Milwaukee including St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Church of the Gesu on Marquette’s campus.
The family-based cult of personality, based out of Topeka, Kansas, is known for its anti-gay beliefs and harsh signs carried by members at their frequent protests — the most famous example of both being its slogan “God Hates Fags.”

South Dakota
*The Taco John’s in Yankton that was involved in the “GAYTARD” controversy has been sold to new ownership

*Media Matters reports on transgender-inclusive high school athletics policies around the country including South Dakota where the policy hasn’t presented any problems in the state, despite conservative outcry in states like Minnesota.

James Weaver, Assistant Executive Director of the South Dakota High School Activities Association:

At this time we have not had any of our member schools use the policy, however we have also not had any negative feedback from our schools or communities about this policy.

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