On Wednesday, September 12, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Senior Legal Counsel and Special Advisor Sam Langholz commented on the Iowa Supreme Court in relation to the governor’s race while speaking in front of a conservative crowd in Urbandale. According to Iowa Public Radio coverage, he “cited recent court decisions that conservatives opposed, and suggested that future appointees could mean different results,” implying that Gov. Reynolds would nominate appointees that would make different decisions. Langholz specifically mentioned the Varnum v. Brien decision legalizing same-sex marriage, according to Iowa Public Radio.
One Iowa Action Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel condemned Langholz’s comments.
“Langholz’s implication that Varnum should have been decided differently flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court decision and our state’s constitution. His comments indicate that Langholz believes LGBTQ Iowans should not receive the same rights and benefits as other Iowans, a practice explicitly condemned by our state’s constitution and civil rights law.”
“LGBTQ Iowans have long relied on the courts to protect our rights, health, and safety. This was true during Varnum v. Brien, and it’s also true now with the current Iowa Supreme Court case addressing the constitutionality of Iowa’s Medicaid ban on medically necessary health care for transgender people. It is worrying to consider what other rights and benefits Langholz does not think LGBTQ Iowans should have, especially since he holds such a high position in our state’s executive branch. We encourage Gov. Reynolds’ to publicly disavow Langholz’s comments.