An Open Letter to Readers
by Jen Green
Des Moines city councilman Halley Griess has asked stevedeace.com to pass along this open letter about a very important meeting coming up:
As you may have read in the Des Moines Register recently, the Des Moines Human Rights Director notified the City Council that they will be recommending changes to the Municipal Code to add ”gender identity” as a protected class.
It might be helpful to briefly provide my background. In 2009, as a 23-year old law school student, I upset a 20-year veteran of the Des Moines City Council in Tom Vlassis. This was accomplished only as a result of much prayer and God’s blessing, and certainly in spite of my weaknesses. Prior to the election, a local pastor called and asked me how I would have voted when the Council voted (a few years prior) to extend special protections for homosexuals, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. At that time, I told him my convictions were based on the Word of God and that I would have opposed such a ordinance change.
Now the rubber meets the road, and I am forced to put my convictions on the line and do what I know to be right. I do not believe “gender identity” falls into the same category as gender and race, and should not be considered a protected class (which is the same rationale that ultimately led to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision). Unfortunately, the rest of the Council, to my knowledge, plans to vote in support of this measure. I will be required to stand in the gap for righteousness–without a caucus or special interest behind me.
At this time, I do not know when the issue will come before the Council. I do know that the Human Rights Commission will be having a hearing on the issue on Aug. 11 at 4:30 p.m., in Des Moines City Hall’s council chambers, 400 Robert D. Ray Drive. Many of the other cities who have passed similar ordinances in Iowa have faced little opposition because no one stood up and fought (as was well noted in the Register’s article). Please consider attending this meeting!
Over the next couple of weeks, will you please pray for me. Help me find the courage to stand in the gap. Please let me know your thoughts and any things that might be helpful as I prepare for the inevitable confrontation. Please also be prepared to come speak at the hearing, and again at the Council meeting whenever the issue ultimately comes forward. Thank you in advance for all of your prayers on my behalf!”
Halley Griess, Des Moines City Council-Ward I