CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Former Vice President Mike Pence was in Cedar Rapids Wednesday afternoon, to back parents angry over a policy designed to protect transgender kids from discrimination at Linn-Mar Schools in Marion. Alongside Congresswoman Ashley Hinson, whose two sons attend Linn-Mar Schools, the former Vice President called the policy an attack on parental rights. "Every day we are told that not only do we have to tolerate the left's increasingly bizarre idea of race, sex, and gender, but that we have to enthusiastically participate." Pence said to a room filled with dozens of supporters.
Pence also took aim at a provision in the policy that allows a transgender student to use the facilities of their choosing. "It is incomprehensible to me to think the school district's policy at Linn-Mar would allow any student of any age to choose which bathroom to use, which locker room to use, which gender room for overnight trips, regardless of their biological sex." The former Vice President called the policy "crazy."
But Iowa's Civil Rights Act does include gender identity as protected from discrimination. A 2022 Iowa Supreme Court ruling upheld a decision siding with a transgender employee of the Iowa Correctional System when they denied a transgender man from using the men's bathroom. But Pence says he thinks federal courts, particularly the nation's highest will view it differently. "We'll continue to follow that lawsuit, if need be, all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States." Pence said of a separate challenge to Linn-Mar's policy. "I remain confident that this movement, that began here in Iowa, could be a landmark decision reaffirming parental rights in the United States.
The former Vice President has long been known to be a strong Christian conservative within the GOP. His remarks on Wednesday harken back to the early 2000's, and President George W. Bush's self-labeling as a "compassionate conservative," while also speaking out on social issues including same-sex marriage. Such an image for Pence, moving forward, would differentiate him from other Republicans running or considering a run for President, especially his former boss, former President Donald Trump.
Watch Pence's speech below.