Posts tagged: Add the Words
“Add the Words” protesters marched in Boise today in support of a 74YO Navy veteran who wants to be buried with same-sex partner in Idaho veterans cemetery. (Eye on Boise photo)
“Add the Words” protesters returned to the Idaho state Capitol today, where roughly 180 were arrested during the course of this year’s legislative session pressing unsuccessfully for a hearing on legislation to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act, to ban discrimination on those grounds. Today, the peaceful protesters carried a personal message: That of Madelynn Lee Taylor, a 74-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who’s been denied her request to be buried with her same-sex spouse at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you consider the request by Navy veteran Madelynn Lee Taylor to be a reasonable/unreasonable one?
“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens” — Thomas Jefferson. Consider a scenario. Imagine me entering a cake shop and asking the proprietor to prepare a sheet cake with the text of the Second Amendment printed on a background of the U.S. flag. Put the National Rifle Association emblem in one corner for emphasis. If the cakemaker refused to make the cake on the basis that it offended his leftwing “morals,” what should I do? A civil man would take his order to another cake maker. That's what civility looks like. But too often, civility has been supplanted by incivility manifested as the brass knuckles of law. And when law relieves certain people of the responsibility of civility, many behave uncivilly. Witness the experience of a cake maker in Colorado who declined to create a cake with a pro-gay marriage message requested by a gay couple preparing to take their vows. Rather than take their business in elsewhere, they sued and the courts forced the cakemaker to do the couple's bidding/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Public policy in Idaho isn't likely to be swayed by negative media coverage of the state's gay rights disputes, Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter said Tuesday. Speaking to reporters at an Idaho Press Club event, Otter rejected the notion that the Legislature's refusal to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation could have a negative effect on efforts to attract new businesses.“I can't point to one company I've visited with that has suggested that was a problem,” he said. “I don't know that companies look to the political activity - they don't say, 'You're a red state, and that's why I've come here.' They look to public policy and tax policy, and they look at predictability.”Otter's comments came a week after 44 gay rights activists were arrested for blocking access to the Senate chambers/William Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
In the Lincoln Auditorium this morning, the House and Senate State Affairs committees are assembled for a presentation about amending the Idaho Human Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, though no bill is before the committees. “Many of us feel impatient about it, and I know that the progress cannot be made without … good understanding,” Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, told the committees. “We have before you five people who will be doing presentations and a number of people from our community that are able to answer questions”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you think the Idaho Legislature will 'Add the Words' in the next 3 to 5 years?
The “Add The Words” campaign, which has pushed unsuccessfully this year for lawmakers to consider legislation adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act to ban discrimination on that basis in housing and employment, will hold a vigil on the Statehouse steps on Thursday evening to “shed some final light on a dark legislative session,” the group said in a news release. It's asking supporters to bring flashlights, cell phones or other non-flame producing light, as open flames aren't allowed on the steps/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Do you want the Idaho Legislature to “Add the Words” any time soon?
Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney, right, speaks to reporters at the Idaho Press Club on Tuesday; at left is Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill. (SR photo: Betsy Russell)
During today's Idaho Press Club Headliner luncheon, House Speaker Lawerence Denney was asked about the prospect of the “Add The Words” legislation coming up in the House; the Senate State Affairs Committee earlier refused, along party lines, to hold grant the bill a hearing. It would expand Idaho's Human Rights Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Denney said, “I have not seen a bill, and I don't think that there is any change in support on the House side”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: What's the best/worst action taken by the Legislature or a committee today?
Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, has decided not to run for another term, after serving two terms in the Senate and two in the House. “The job that I've had, I think, often is just speaking up for those who are about to lose, the side that's going to go down,” she said. “I think your heart can only take that for so long.” LeFavour, 48, a teacher and a writer, is the Legislature's only open gay member. She's been an outspoken advocate of legislation to expand the Idaho Human Rights Act to cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; that legislation has seen growing support, but lawmakers have never granted it a hearing/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: What is Sen. LeFavour's impact on the Idaho Legislature?
Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, has been overruled in her attempt to challenge Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder's ruling that her amendment to SB 1215 can't be considered. The bill is about increasing penalties for prison contraband; LeFavour argued that the bill says it's about promoting safety and security, and so was her amendment — to expand the Idaho Human Rights Act to cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. That would include prison employees who are gay or lesbian, she said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Do you support Sen. LeFavour's attempt to resurrect “Add the Words” legislation?
Following is Kevin Richert's editorial for Sunday: “The campaign to expand Idaho’s Human Rights Act centered on a straightforward slogan: 'Add The Words.' So now, what words can we add to our description of the 2012 Legislature? How about callous? Or dismissive? Or embarrassing? All of these words fairly describe the actions of the Senate State Affairs Committee Friday. On a party-line decision, and without much second thought, the committee rejected a proposal to extend human rights protections to gays, lesbians and transgender Idahoans. This basic, fair step to prevent discrimination in the workplace and the housing market didn’t get a hearing. In the committee’s narrow view, this proposal didn’t even merit any real consideration”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Idaho Statesman/AP photo by Chris Butler: A group expresses their disbelieve with a silent protest outside the Senate State Affair Committee meeting today)
The Senate is beginning its annual Lincoln Day commemorative program, but before it started, Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, rose to introduce guests in the gallery, as is the custom, including her partner, Carol Grohoski, and a large group of folks “who have worked with the Add The Words campaign for the last several months” to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Idaho's Human Rights Act. LeFavour reeled off names of those in the gallery, adding, “and all the amazing people who have worked so hard and who I love dearly. So please give them a warm welcome.” The Senate responded with a vigorous round of applause/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Betsy Russell posts on “Add the Words” discussion:
Question: Isn't this odd behavior by the Senate after the action against “Add the Words” in committee?
An Idaho Senate committee today, on a straight party-line vote, rejected legislation to ban housing and employment discrimination against gay people, as a shocked crowd of more than 250 supporters of the human rights bill looked on. Judy Halverson, a United Methodist Women member from Boise who was among the crowd attending the hearing, called the decision “just very disappointing, not even to be allowed to be heard.” The committee refused to introduce the bill, which would have allowed a public hearing on it. “I’m just astounded,” Halverson said. “This is 2012. It’s time, it is time“/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Things are about to get sticky at the Idaho Statehouse. A group of Idaho residents want to see the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” added to the state's laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and education. They call their campaign “Add the Words, Idaho” and they're using sticky notes to make their point. So far for this year's legislative session, Add the Words volunteers say they have collected hundreds of sticky notes to lawmakers from more than 50 different Idaho towns. Add the Words volunteers will begin placing sticky notes on the doors of the House and Senate chambers today, as the 2012 legislative session begins/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you support the “Add the Words” campaign?