Iowa Republican State Representative Greg Heartsill offered an amendment on Wednesday aimed at protecting children from attending the Annual Iowa Governor's Conference on LGBTQ Youth -- even though he couldn't say exactly what "LGBTQ" stood for.
During a Wednesday floor debate in the Iowa House, Democratic state Rep. Chris Hall asked Heartsill to explain his amendment that would require parents to opt-in before students received any type of education on "human growth and development."
"I think where this is coming from is parents have been having a situation where their students have been exposed to certain material that they would find objectionable," Heartsill said. "So, this language is just allowing parents to opt their children in, and giving them an opportunity to review the material before their children are subjected to it."
"The children who attended these conferences or some conference that you've heard of were in attendance without their parents' knowledge?" Hall asked.
"There have been some situations where parents did not fully understand what their children were partaking in," Heartsill replied.
Hall wondered which conference the Republican state representative had been referring to.
"I think there was a conference a few months ago where there was some obscene material that was presented to minor children, and not only were parents shocked at the material, but also the administrators and teachers as well," Heartsill opined, noting that the students had been attending "the Governor's Conference on LGBTQ Youth."
"And what's that acronym short for?" Hall pressed.
"Pardon me?" Heartsill said.
"Does that acronym stand for something?" Hall repeated.
"I believe it does," Heartsill remarked. "But I think it varies from one group to the next. I don't know -- do you have the acronym?"
"I do," Hall noted. "You know, the state of Iowa has a long proud tradition of quality in observance of human rights and making sure we treat our neighbor as we would also like to be treated. And some of this language is nothing but a potshot -- in my opinion -- as lesbian, gay, transgender youth."
"The Governor's Conference on LGBT equality is something that has been a tradition, it's been longstanding between governors of both parties, including the current Republican governor," the Democratic lawmaker observed. "This language is relatively pointless considering it's just a potshot, and it is actually already in current law that anytime a child is in the classroom any anytime they're learning about human sexuality, human growth and development, they already have to have parental consent."
"I'm going to be opposing the amendment because this is absurd."
According to Iowa Starting Line, House Republicans went on to defeat a larger anti-bullying bill later in session by a vote of 50 to 46.
“This legislation has been vetted for three years,” Hall pointed out in a statement. “It is well past time to empower students, parents and teachers to change the culture of bullying within schools. Iowans expect more from House Republicans and they deserve to see it move forward this year.”
Watch the video below from the Iowa Legislature, broadcast May 20, 20145