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Iowa Senate rejects medical confirmation over LGBT comments

April 12, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Senate has declined to confirm a woman to the state Board of Medicine because of an online comment she made about the LGBTQ community.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ appointment of Katherine Asjes failed Wednesday. All 18 votes against the appointment were cast by Democrats, the Des Moines Register reported .

Asjes’ comment supporting a Catholic World Report article that criticized the LGBTQ community is concerning, said Democratic Sen. Tony Bisignano of Des Moines. Article author Jim Russell said the LGBTQ community is constantly changing the rights they’re seeking and criticizing those who oppose them.

Asjes posted a comment where she said she agrees with Russell’s statements, but wants more information about the “original definition of heterosexual.”

“What I read was pretty off-the-wall,” Bisignano said. “In reading this, she states that she completely agrees with all that this person has said and this guy goes back into the Dark Ages talking about sexuality and getting into homosexuality.”

The comment raised concerns about whether Asjes would protect the health of all Iowa residents, said Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen.

Asjes said that while she expressed agreement with the author, she made the comment to seek additional information. Asjes said she’s a conservative Republican and believes her views on marriage are in line with the Republican party.

“I really think that this speaks to a lack of open-mindedness and the intolerance of Democrats,” Asjes said.

Republican Sen. Brad Zaun of Urbandale said Asjes’ experience in hospital public relations makes her “more than qualified” for the position.

The state Board of Medicine regulates physicians and surgeons, osteopathic physicians and licensed acupuncturists.

On Thursday, Senate Democrats also voted down reappointment of Mike Cormack as chairman of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board. Democrats argued Cormack had done a poor job of overseeing union elections tied to a collective bargaining law passed last year. The board recently walked back immediate plans to add new registration requirements to vote, a proposal that was criticized by unions.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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