Group Says It’s Serious about Ending LGBT Discrimination in Idaho

“No one submits legislation just to get a hearing. Thousands say this is the year to pass it,” tweeted Add The Words, Idaho! organizer Mistie Tolman following a less than optimistic story posted last week by a Boise radio station.

Tolman and dozens of other organizers say it will be hard for state lawmakers to ignore their constituents call to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Idaho this year.

Since October, hundreds of sticky notes have been emailed, mailed, texted and called in from across the state all with one single message, “add the words gender identity and sexual orientation to Idaho human right’s amendment.”

This isn’t the first time lawmakers have been asked to pass the legislation. Various volunteers and organizers have  been pushing for the change since 2006. Despite bipartisan support for the bill, each year the legislation has not only not made it out of committee but it has been denied a simple hearing as well.

When the largely Republican legislature convenes on January 9th, however, the amount of public support for the effort should dispel any excuses that Idaho voters aren’t supportive of such measures.

“The goal isn’t only to get a hearing but to see the human right’s act amended.” say organizers.

The Idaho Human Rights Act was passed in 1969 protecting Idahoans from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, and age. Protections on the basis of disability were added in 2007.

If the act was amended, employers with five or more employees would be prohibited from using an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation.

It’s a move that, according to a Boise State public policy survey conducted in 2006, most Idahoans support. The message of support has apparently failed in years past to get to state lawmakers.  This year however, with an early start and thousands of Idahoans involved in the effort, organizers say they are hoping to be celebrating its passage.

If you have not yet  mailed your sticky notes to your state lawmakers, now is the time to do it. You can find out more  HERE at the Add The Words, Idaho! campaign’s website.

There will be an Add the Words, Idaho fundraising party on Thursday January 12th, from 5:30-8:30 PM at the Beside Bardenay on the Basque Block in Downtown Boise. It will be hosted by more than 30 human rights leaders from across the state. Cost is a $10.00 to $100.00 donation at the door. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION. 

If you can not attend, you can send a donation to: Add the Words PAC Box 2661 Boise, ID 83701.

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