Action Alert: Add the Words Flashlight Vigil to Be held this Thursday
March 12, 2012 1 Comment
It looks like Idaho lawmakers are getting ready to head home without hearing a bill that would add the words,”sexual orientation and gender identity” to Idaho’s human rights laws.
Despite the pleas of hundreds of Idahoans around the state, lawmakers continue to refuse to formally hear from the family, friends and individuals affected by the lack of any sort of protections for Idaho’s gay and transgender communities.
Organizers for the Add the Words sticky note campaign had strong hopes of the bill’s passage this year based on surveys and strong bipartisan support for the measure.
The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee voted last month not to print the bill, and despite the renewal of hope with potential sponsors of the bill on the house side, House Speaker Lawerence Denney indicated to a group of reporters last week that he doesn’t intend to give the measure a hearing.
According to the Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell, during a press conference on Tuesday Denney said, “I have not seen a bill, and I don’t think that there is any change in support on the House side.” Asked what he meant by that – a change from what – Denney said, “From not hearing it. I think that was always the position on the House side.”
Denney also told reporters that, despite a high profile media campaign as well as six years of volunteers trying to get the legislation passed, he had not yet seen the bill.
Organizer Mistie Tolman tells the Idaho Agenda, “Add the Words is surprised that Denney says he has never seen the bill and never intended to give it a hearing.”
Supporters of the legislation say they feel that lawmakers are simply ignoring the plight of Idaho’s LGBT community. Several lawmakers have acknowledged that they know that harassment and discrimination occurs in Idaho but have thus far not taken any steps to fix the problem.
Thursday’s vigil will be held from 8:00-9:00 pm on the steps of the Idaho Statehouse in Boise. “It is time to gather together with signs and FLASHLIGHTS and let the Idaho Lawmakers know that their failure to hear the Idaho Human Rights Act amendment bill, for yet another year, was UNACCEPTABLE,” says a Facebook Event page.
Organizers are hoping the event will send a message to lawmakers that by ignoring the legislation they have also ignored the voices and wishes of hundreds of voters throughout the state.