On June 24, 2022, Kaplan Hecker & Fink attorneys filed an amicus brief at the Iowa Supreme Court in Vasquez v. Iowa Department of Human Services on behalf of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), FORGE, Inc., GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, National LGBTQ Task Force (Task Force), National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA), Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), Trans Youth Equality Foundation (TYEF), Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF),  and Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (TGRCNM).

This amicus brief, filed in support of the petitioners Aiden Vasquez and Mika Covington, urges the Iowa Supreme Court to hold that transgender classifications face strict scrutiny under the Iowa Constitution.

As the brief explains: “It is vital for courts to affirm the dignity of transgender persons and make clear that our commitment to equal protection shields the transgender community. By requiring the government to affirmatively explain and justify transgender-based classifications, strict scrutiny serves to smoke out and deter reliance on biased assumptions . . . Given the absence of any presumptively valid reason to draw lines by reference to transgender status, it is eminently reasonable to demand such justification. By virtue of its commitment to equal protection for all persons, the Iowa Constitution demands nothing less.”

Kaplan Hecker & Fink partners Joshua Matz and Raymond Tolentino, and summer associate Samantha Neal, contributed to the brief, which can be read in full here