Iowa jury rules against former governor in anti-LGBTQ discrimination suit

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(Image by succo from Pixabay)

(Image by succo from Pixabay)

DES MOINES — An Iowa jury has award a former state official $1.5 million in damages after finding that former Gov. Terry Branstad had discriminated against him because of his orientation.

The Des Moines Register reported Monday that the jury had decided that the state and Branstad has retaliated against former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey. The jury said Branstad and the state had discriminated against Godfrey based on his sexual orientation

“It feels a little bit unreal. I’m just so happy that I and my family have finally had justice in this case,” Godfrey told the Register.

From the Des Moines Register:

Godfrey, a Democrat, sued in 2012 alleging that Branstad, a Republican, pressured him to resign and cut his pay when Godfrey refused. 

“I have always treated everyone, gay or straight, with respect and dignity. That’s the way I have always operated,” Branstad testified during the trial.

The verdict wraps up the six-week trial, but it does not mark the end of the yearslong legal battle that began when Godfrey first sued seven years ago. On top of the $1.5 million in damages awarded to Godfrey for past and future emotional distress, a judge will determine additional fees to be paid to his attorneys.

The newspaper reported that the state’s attorneys, private attorneys paid by taxpayers, did not say if Iowa would appeal.

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