The Iowa Senate has declined to confirm a Nevada woman’s appointment to the Iowa Board of Medicine because of online comments she made regarding the LGBT community.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ appointment of Katherine Asjes, also a Republican, failed earlier this week following a 30-18 vote with all 18 negative votes cast by Democrats, the Des Moines Register reports. Asjes’ confirmation required 33 votes.
Sen. Tony Bisignano expressed concern about Asjes’ comments written last year in support of a Catholic World Report article criticizing the LGBT community. The article was titled “Re-Building a Bridge: The connection between contraception and the ’LGBT community.'”
In the comments section, Asjes responded to the homophobic article’s author, writing, “Could you please give the early sources of your definition of heterosexual—the medical dictionary you used? I completely agree with all you have said here, but need some sources for back up, as my 20-something son is skeptical… I could not find anything about the original definition of heterosexual in a pretty serious online search.”
“What I read was pretty off the wall,” Bisignano said. “In reading this, she states that she completely agrees with all that this person has said and this guy goes back into the Dark Ages talking about sexuality and getting into homosexuality.”
Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen agreed that the comments raise concerns about Asjes’ ability to protect the health of all Iowa residents.
“Our caucus is interested in making sure that anyone appointed to the Board of Medicine will protect the health of all Iowans. And after doing some research there were some concerns, red flags, in moving that confirmation forward,” Petersen said.
Sen. Brad Zaun was among the Republicans who praised Asjes’ background and family of “true Americans,” calling her “more than qualified” for the appointment. Zaun noted that Asjes, the mother of six, is the wife of a military veteran. Following her rejection, he said, “I am disgusted by what has been done.”
While Asjes later admitted she expressed agreement with the author of the anti-LGBT post, she claimed her comments were made to seek additional information. “I really think that this speaks to a lack of open-mindedness and the intolerance of Democrats,” she told the Register.
Asjes also confirmed that her views on marriage are consistent with conservative Republicans and Roman Catholics.
Catholic World Report has responded to Asjes’s Iowa Board of Medicine rejection, writing that “the Reign of Gay is the new Dark Ages.”