A Resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965.
WHEREAS, in the early 1960s, University of Iowa College of Law Professor Arthur Bonfield worked to persuade Iowa lawmakers that new, comprehensive state civil rights legislation was necessary and drafted a civil rights bill in December 1964 for introduction in the Iowa General Assembly the following year; and
WHEREAS, under the leadership of Senator John Ely and Representative Roy Gillette, the Iowa General Assembly passed unanimously the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965, which Governor Hughes signed into law on April 29, 1965; and
WHEREAS, effective May 6, 1965, the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 prohibited discrimination in the areas of employment and public accommodations on the basis of several protected personal characteristics including race, color, national origin, creed, or religion, as well as retaliation against those who sought to enforce their rights or aided others in doing so; and
WHEREAS, the Iowa General Assembly and the Governor, by enacting the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965, created and empowered the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to enforce the Act’s provisions and eliminate discrimination in the State of Iowa; and
WHEREAS, the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 has been amended to prohibit discrimination in the areas of housing, credit, and education and to add age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, and disability as protected personal characteristics; and
WHEREAS, the 50th anniversary of the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 truly represents 50 years of a higher quality of life through equality in the State of Iowa; and
WHEREAS, great strides have been made in eliminating discrimination in Iowa, but more work and even greater strides must be made to ensure that all workplaces, educational settings, and places of accommodation and housing are free of unlawful discrimination; and
WHEREAS, the Senate should celebrate and inform all Iowans of the history of the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 and reinvigorate Iowans to continue to fight to end discrimination; NOW THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE, That the Senate honors and recognizes the importance of the adoption of the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 in ensuring equality and freedom in this state and recognizes and commends all of those individuals who made that possible.