Standing for equality for all Idahoans
Originally posted on February 10, 2012
Photo credit Devin-Ferrell & Arbiter Online Jan. 2015
A View from The North End
Add the Words Legislation Voted Down Along Party Lines
In another show of dubious, unaltered socially conservative power, the Idaho Senate State Affairs committee voted NO to print the “Add the Words” bill which has gained statewide support. Over 300 people packed the hearing room to no avail. What did the opponents to the bill have to say for themselves?
Senator Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, told the Associated Press, “I think what you saw was the conflict of two entirely different worldviews.”
Senate Majority Caucus Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, later told reporters, “The issue becomes, where does it stop? Where do those special categories end?”
This observer would suggest that there is only one world we share and someone’s narrow “worldview” isn’t appropriate when legislating for the people…all of the people. It’s an easy cop-out to use “difference” as the reason to ignore people who are unlike themselves, that act doesn’t serve the people. And “when does it stop”? It will stop when there is no need for governance! Life and the world we live in are constantly changing and “special categories” will always present themselves… bigotry, inequality and 21st century problems won’t be solved by people with a limited worldview.
By blocking the legislation that would add a few simple words to Idaho Code, the Idaho GOP has failed to extend common protections to all Idaho citizens once again. Now we must make a difference at the ballot box.
Add the Words Background
The message is simple….. all Idahoans – regardless – deserve to be treated equally, to be accepted as they are, not as someone else defines them. Just Add The Words!
Daily, people across Idaho, in small towns and in cities, live in fear of being fired from their jobs, being denied housing, public service or educational opportunities because they are gay or transgender. A 2007 statewide poll found that more than 63% of Idahoans felt it should be illegal to fire someone because they are gay. Yet lawmakers have failed to do what the majority know is the right thing to do… add the words.
In 2012, please stand with us. Idaho’s gay and transgender community can’t do this alone.
In last winter’s legislative session, people posted sticky notes on the Senate State Affairs Committee doors asking the Chairman to allow a public hearing on the bill to add the words “sexual orientation and gender identity” to Idaho’s Human Rights Act.
The stickies were a powerful presence, like having voices from all over the state speaking from the committee room doors. Security took the stickies down, but, every day, people put new ones up.
Last winter, we asked the Idaho legislature to hear us. It seems they didn’t. This year, from every town in Idaho and in every room of the statehouse, we want a sticky note saying it’s time to finally add the words.
For more information and ways you can help, visit the Add The Words website – click here.