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Gay Commissioner Files $1 Million Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit Against Governor Terry Branstad: VIDEO


Iowa's Workers Conpensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey has filed a lawsuit against Governor Terry Branstad (below) saying that the governor asked him to resign twice and cut his pay by half when he refused, because he's gay, the Des Moines Register reports:

BranstadIowa’s workers’ compensation commissioner today filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging defamation, harassment, sexual discrimination and extortion after Gov. Terry Branstad cut his pay by almost $36,000 last year.

A claim from commissioner Chris Godfrey asks for $1 million in compensation, a common line-item request in such litigation, said his attorney, Roxanne Conlin.

The governor’s office issued a statement this afternoon saying Branstad did not discriminate against Godfrey in any way. The statement said Branstad previously had asked Godfrey to step down because of his performance as the workers’ compensation commissioner, “where he oversaw an increase in workers’ comp insurance, forcing additional costs onto Iowa businesses.”

Godfrey says he won't be bullied:

“For those people that are going to be bullied by this governor or by someone else, I can lead by example and say, ‘It’s OK to stand up to someone, even someone as strong as the governor of the state of Iowa,’” Godfrey said. “I can stand up to that bully, and it’s going to be OK.”

Watch WHO-TV's report on the lawsuit, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. I have a hard time believing this. Isn't he a vocal supporter of marriage equality in Iowa and has defended it against Republican attacks for years?

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 13, 2012 10:46:29 AM

  2. Oh no. That was our old gov.

    Posted by: IAbear35 | Jan 13, 2012 11:07:39 AM

  3. Steve, you're thinking about the Democratic governor whom Branstad unfortunately defeated in 2010. Branstad is a homophobic Republican who is a big opponent of gay rights. The former Dem governor became an eloquent defender of marriage equality before being defeated by Branstad.

    Posted by: Patric | Jan 13, 2012 11:14:50 AM

  4. Well , here is his statement on gay marriage.
    “I signed the Defense of Marriage Act that said that marriage is between one man and one woman in this state,” Branstad said, drawing applause from his supporters. “I think the Supreme Court was wrong to strike it down.”

    As an Iowan, I have to say that Branstad rules like a King. He is very high-handed, and seeks to dominate. He also gives businesses every perk he can, while cutting spending drastically on social services. He serves business, and further marginalizes those with few resources and low income.

    I have been waiting for someone to take him to task, hopefully this is the beginning.

    Posted by: Iowan | Jan 13, 2012 11:30:41 AM

  5. Normally, state officials are immune from lawsuits in these cases. That he got a lawyer suggests there is some exception here in Iowa.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 13, 2012 11:47:23 AM

  6. Ok, guess I should have wikied him

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 13, 2012 11:53:16 AM

  7. Steve - I am no lawyer; Sovereign immunity in the United States is the legal privilege by which the American federal, state, and tribal governments cannot be sued. And then all the exceptions begin...

    I *think* this may be a civil (personal) lawsuit, rather than one brought against the Office. Dunno for sure.

    Posted by: Iowan | Jan 13, 2012 12:05:39 PM

  8. Good for Godfrey! I encourage every gay person who is discriminated against by their employer, even in the slighest of ways, to take legal action against that employer. Don't be afraid to do so. I promise you the State of Iowa will settle quickly and out of court with Mr. Godfrey and to Mr. Godfrey's satisfaction. Big round of applause for Chris Godfrey.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Jan 13, 2012 12:12:22 PM

  9. Good to see Mr. Godfrey standing up for his rights and taking a stand in the face of homophobic bullying by a bigoted idiot. This is the only way people like Mr. Branstad will learn that their hate *does* has bounds.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 13, 2012 12:59:11 PM

  10. "The statement said Branstad previously had asked Godfrey to step down because of his performance as the workers’ compensation commissioner, “where he oversaw an increase in workers’ comp insurance, forcing additional costs onto Iowa businesses.”"

    This does not make sense. Isn't workers' comp insurance based on the laws? The Commissioner cannot make the law, only enforce it.

    Posted by: Joel | Jan 13, 2012 1:33:46 PM

  11. Joel - my father has been in a 3 year legal battle due to an injury at work. Eventually, the negotiations went to the office of the Commissioner for final arbitration. That office decides the percentage of disability paid out based on a variety of information, some of which is a quality-of-life ratio. Some who work in the office are more lenient than others in their record of awards to those with disability. While Mr. Godfrey may be doing his job well, he (or his office) may be awarding higher payments than some companies like to see. (as is seems to be from the current rumors) This scenario would be exactly the kind of thing that would get the attention of our Governor since he takes VERY good care of corporations.

    Posted by: Iowan | Jan 13, 2012 2:22:34 PM

  12. Plus, Roxanne Conlin is sort of the Gloria Alred of Iowa. She's tough as nails.

    Posted by: Mary in Iowa | Jan 13, 2012 4:18:01 PM

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