After the Iowa Civil Rights Commission published a brochure addressing sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, Cornerstone World Outreach felt the state was taking things a bit too far and filed for exemption from the Civil Rights Commission.
“The state of Iowa really has no right to come inside of a religious facility and tell us or put us in the untenable position of ‘Mother May I’ with how we use our facilities,” says Sr. Pastor Cary Gordon of Cornerstone World Outreach.
As stated in the CRC’s brochure, ‘these protections do not apply to religious institutes with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose’. This meaning Cornerstone must meet qualifications to prove that they should be exempt from compliance. Cornerstone’s beliefs regarding gender and sexuality are based on their understanding of the Holy Bible and therefore feel they cannot comply.
“Being a man is something you should be proud of and being a woman is something you should be proud of. Both sexes are beautiful and your identity is in Christ and that’s what the church teaches, it’s not focused on your anatomy, it’s talking about your spirit,” says Pastor Gordon.
“During one of the church services, Pastor Gordon told the Cornerstone outreach members about the church’s decision to file for exemption from the state. Pastor Gordon said the response he got from his members was a standing-ovation of solidarity showing support for the church’s unwavering position against the state.”
Cornerstone with the legal representation of First Liberty has given the state a standard thirty days to reply to their exemption request with a final date of Aug. 5th. First Liberty lawyers said while although they feel confident the state will rule in their favor, they are ready to pursue the state if exemption is not granted.