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Gage Skidmore

Joni Ernst

U.S. Senator from Iowa

Signed brief for U.S. Supreme Court to defend taxpayer-funded agency’s right to reject qualified same-sex couples looking to become foster parents.

Expressed support for allowing taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples during a town hall event. The case is the Trump administration’s third to go to the U.S. Supreme Court to allow discrimination against LGBTQ Americans, including as customers, employees and potential parents of foster and adoptive children.

Despite initially criticizing the Trump administration’s plan to ban transgender people from military service, Sen. Ernst also said the government should stop paying for gender confirmation surgeries and later did not join in supporting a bipartisan effort to protect those servicemembers.

Sen. Ernst has been a featured speaker numerous times at the Family Leadership Summit organized by anti-LGBTQ group The Family Leader, which is affiliated with the Family Research Council, labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The group gained national prominence for its “The Marriage Vow” pledge, which it asked 2012 presidential hopefuls to sign, vowing to oppose same-sex marriage and civil unions, as well as same-sex and single parenting, and to allow for anti-LGBTQ discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs. The vow also included language condemning judges it said had “personally rejected heterosexuality and monogamy,” and argued for separating LGB soldiers from their fellow same-sex servicemembers in “restrooms, showers, barracks, tents, etc.”

Voted against an amendment which sought to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination in public schools, grades K-12.

Released statement criticizing the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling legalizing marriage equality nationwide, saying she was “disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws…. While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level,” she added.

Voted against amendment to provide benefits to the same-sex spouses of veterans and their children in states where their marriages weren’t recognized.

Voted against an amendment to ensure same-sex spouses had equal access to Social Security and veterans benefits.

During debate while running for U.S. Senate said, “I do believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and I also believe that this is a state’s right.” Ernst also said she would support a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Co-sponsored Iowa state constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

The GLAAD Accountability Project catalogs anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discriminatory actions of politicians, commentators, organization heads, religious leaders, and legal figures, who have used their platforms, influence and power to spread misinformation and harm LGBTQ people.

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