Veterans' Flag Replaced with Transgender Flag Above Iowa Capitol - GOP Strikes Back
Republican lawmakers push back against 'completely disrespectful' incident
Republican lawmakers have hit back after a flag honoring US military veterans flown over the Iowa State Capitol was removed and replaced with a rainbow flag to celebrate "Transgender Day."
The building normally flies flags to honor prisoners of war (POW) and those missing in action (MIA).
For a short period on November 20, 2019, however, one of the flags was replaced with a transgender pride flag, triggering outrage.
In response, Iowa Republicans introduced a bill that limits the types of flags government entities can display.
On Monday, the legislation advanced from a subcommittee to a full committee for consideration, The Associated Press reported.
Senate Study Bill 3017 was first introduced in mid-January and only authorizes flags representing the United States, the State of Iowa, POW/MIA, political subdivisions, and school districts to be raised on flagstaffs at government-owned buildings.
In November, the transgender pride flag flew over the Iowa State Capitol at the request of a local LGBTQ advocacy group but was removed again after about five minutes.
Republican State Senator Jake Chapman is backing the proposal to limit which flags can be flown on state and local government buildings.
In a statement, Chapman said the transgender flag incident was “completely disrespectful” to military veterans.
“I heard from numerous constituents who were very concerned about the precedent that’s being set,” Chapman told the Globe Gazette.
"My understanding is that there were some internal policies that perhaps were violated during that demonstration but I think it’s important that at least my constituents know that we’re taking this serious."
“It’s what the flag represents and the fact that it was taken down and another flag was flown instead of the American flag and the Iowa flag and the POW/MIA flag, I think at a lot of Iowans find that to be very offensive.”
An Iowa Department of Administrative Services official conceded that only the American flag, Iowa state, and the POW/MIA flags are approved to fly above the Iowa Capitol building.
Two DAS employees had not followed “the existing process,” State Administrative Services spokeswoman Tami Wiencek claimed.
“We have reminded all of our employees about existing procedures,” Wiencek told the Gazette.
Wiencek added that the transgender flag “did not supplant the Iowa or U.S. flags,” but failed to mention whether it replaced the veterans' flag.
A poll conducted by the Gazette on Facebook shows the majority of Iowa citizens back the Republicans' flag bill.
Meanwhile, Chapman says the incident has prompted queries from his constituents.
“I mean I started getting questions, could I go fly this flag?” he told the Gazette.
"I’m a big Green Bay Packers fan, could I go fly the Packers’ flag?
“It’s setting a precedent I don’t think we want to go down here in the state of Iowa.
"Reserve it for the American, the Iowa and the POW/MIA flag primarily.”