DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A jury has awarded a former state workers’ compensation commissioner $1.5 million, concluding the state and former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad discriminated against him because he’s gay and that a pay cut was retaliation for refusing to quit.
Jurors in the civil trial found Monday that Chris Godfrey proved Branstad’s attempts to get him to quit and cut his pay in 2011 were discriminatory and deprived him of his rights.
Godfrey’s attorney, Roxanne Conlin, says jurors awarded $1.5 million for discrimination based on sexual orientation, retaliation and violation of his constitutional rights.
Branstad, the U.S. ambassador to China, denied knowing Godfrey was gay when he asked for his resignation.
Branstad’s attorney directed reporters to the governor’s office for comment.
Gov. Kim Reynolds says she’s disappointed and is consulting with attorneys.
The verdict in Godfrey’s favor could mean Iowa taxpayers will be responsible for millions of dollars in attorney fees for Branstad and Godfrey.