Idaho’s “Add The Words” bill To be Reintroduced this Session
January 23, 2013 1 Comment
For the seventh time in as many years, Idaho lawmakers will once again be asked to amend the state’s Human Rights Act to include the words “sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, (D) Boise, told KBOI-TV on Monday that she’s prepared to sponsor the measure this session. The language of the bill would be similar to last year’s proposed amendment, with a few minor changes.
The “Add the Words” bill would make it illegal in Idaho to discriminate against someone solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in cases of employment, housing or in other public amenities.
Idaho’s LGBT community has been trying to gain a public hearing for the bill for the past seven years. Despite positing hundreds of sticky notes from citizens across Idaho, as well as heavy turn out at rallies in 14 cities during a day of action, last January, GOP lawmakers once again told the community, “no”.
But Buckner-Webb appears hopeful that, with three Idaho cities having passed their own non-discrimination ordinances and two cities banning discrimination against gay employees, Idaho maybe at the tipping point when it comes to securing the rights of ALL of its citizens.
“One thing Idahoans care about is fairness,” Sen. Buckner-Webb tells KBOI-TV. “Fairness and equity. Not special rights. Fairness and equity. That’s what we’re interested in.”
No word yet on when exactly the bill will be introduced.
Meanwhile, one of the groups that was most visible during the last legislative session is planning on taking more of an educational approach to the issue this year, while still maintaining the pressure on lawmakers.
Misitie Tolman with Add The Words, Idaho told the Idaho Agenda on Monday that the group plans to be active throughout the session, “We are getting to know the new legislators this year, and we have events planned, so please be watching! (You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter) This discussion must be had. It is time that an open dialogue is had inside the walls of that statehouse, and we will not give up until all Idahoans are given protections. “
One of those actions will be to thank the Boise City Council for the recent passage of its non-discrimination ordinance.
According to a recent press release, “Add the Words, Idaho will be presenting the council with plaques as their way of thanking them for stepping forward as leaders of equality. The plaques were generously donated by Western Trophy & Engraving, Inc. The group also has hundreds of names to present on their signature “Sticky Notes” of people who want to show their thanks to the Council as well.”
The event will take place on Tuesday, January 29th, scheduled at the beginning of the Boise City Council meeting at 4:00pm.