Former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey is a gay man. The new conservative Supreme Court of the state just overturned the nondiscrimination win he jury awarded him. In the court case, as the AP reports, he “argued that his sexual orientation was a motivating factor for his harsh treatment by Branstad, who ran for office alongside a 2010 Iowa GOP platform that opposed equal rights for gays and lesbians. He said the adverse treatment and exclusion continued for years, including budget cuts Branstad targeted at his office.
“Branstad testified that he wanted Godfrey out because powerful business interests had complained about some of his rulings awarding benefits to injured workers. He said the salary cut was within his discretion as governor and that he didn’t learn Godfrey was gay until later.”
Earlier this article notes, “Although Godfrey’s status as one of Iowa’s first openly gay public officials was widely known, it’s ‘pure speculation’ that Branstad had ever been aware of that, Justice Christopher McDonald wrote. The evidence does not support a conclusion that Branstad was ‘anti-gay’ because he had employed other gay men, he added.”
How could widely known public knowledge not be applied to the awareness of governor himself? Especially as the supervising, hiring governor? It is illogical to claim his ignorance and pure speculation alongside a claim of no bias via the logic that he had hired and employed other gay men, because this assumes they at least continued employment under him with his knowing of their sexual orientations Therefore, he not only could but would indeed know an appointee was gay if the person was out and publicly noted for their being one of the first few gay state administration employees.
Unless there were very specific other circumstances for Brandstad’s awareness of these other employees/appointees’ being gay, he would be aware along with the public of the out State Commissioner’s sexual orientation. Even with particular reasons for Branstad’s awareness of others’ gayness, something that was public knowledge and celebrated or noted in media should not be speculated to not have been known by the governor. That is to claim an utter lack of awareness and basic competency on his part.
Either way, Brandstad is a pretty evil ruler, punishing all of Iowa’s injured workers by slashing Godfrey’s Workers’ Compensation Office budget due to compensations to injured workers, its very purpose. That squeeze on Godfrey hurt vulnerable residents of the state already dealing with an injury and insurance claim over it, often not working as much as needed or at all because of and during this pain and difficulty for weeks or months, or the foreseeable future.