It's true, I'm no longer sitting in that seat on the floor of the Idaho Senate or House. I'm not rising to speak when something needs to be said, but my voice is still out here and in the Capitol each year, and though I'm often invisible, I will be in the big marble building gathering others and working quietly until gay and transgender people are finally safe here, our jobs and livelihoods and families are no longer at risk –whether we are exercising our constitutional right to marry or just simply trying to shop at a store or eat dinner in a restaurant. It is 2016. We should be safe and not have to fear that our state by its silence endorses violence against us. We should not have to fear being turned away from businesses.
In my heart I know our state is better than the policy it allows to be printed in its books of code.
I'm going nowhere until the laws change and good people are included in our state anti-discrimination statutes. I am going nowhere until hard working neighbors and friends are afforded the dignity of having recourse when they face discrimination, violence and acts of cruelty. For Idaho, it will get better. To the young I say remember the love of all of us out here and know that people can be better and braver and kinder than our laws.
On February 10 the bill to Add the Words to include gay and transgender people in Idaho’s Human Rights Act was killed without a word of public testimony. For six years the Idaho legislature has refused to allow a single public hearing on the legislation to ban discrimination in employment, housing and education. Tell your Idaho law makers it is finally time to stand up and say discrimination is wrong. http://addthewords.org
Send your message now respectfully asking the Senators to reconsider the bill and Add the Words.
Idaho Press Tribune: You may mail, fax or e-mail your letter to the editor, but letters must include your full name (no initials), home address and daytime and evening telephone numbers for verification. If you have questions regarding your letter, please call (208) 465-8115 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Add the Words Idaho is an all volunteer organization of people all across Idaho working to demonstrate the level of public support for inclusion of gay and transgender Idahoans in the state’s laws banning discrimination in employment, housing education and public accommodation. Add the Words has gathered over 2000 messages to Idaho legislators written on sticky notes from people in more than 60 Idaho towns. http://addthewords.org
Thanks to Lucy Juarez for video footage, and to Jim Huggins and Stacy Ericson for still photos. Thanks to Lisa Perry and all those organizing or participating in positive silent protests across the state. Thanks to Dave at Rail Tees on Overland for the Add the Words T-shirt design and printing.
Live in Boise? Find out how you can post your sticky note in the statehouse any time, day or night.
It is a bit sad that it was on Valentines day that Senator McKenzie said he didn't plan to schedule a hearing on S1033 to finally make it so gay people in Idaho can no longer be legally fired from our jobs for no other reason than that we are gay.
But let's be clear, no one I know is giving up. We can't. Next year is an election year, and every year there has been some reason why another year would be better to consider this legislation. Enough of this.
For Idaho law to continue to stay silent is to say that all the cruelty, the violence, the discrimination is acceptable, that it is ok in the state of Idaho.
It is time for a public hearing. That is next to nothing to ask. It is long past time for the legislature to listen to our stories, see what people face, hard working men and women, many of whom love this state and stay though many other states would value our lives more, would ensure our freedom and ensure we can work at a job, keep our houses, go to school and simply live our lives in peace.
The Safe Schools & Fair Employment Working Group is not giving up. Please let law makers know how you feel, lend your name in support using the on line petition or have your business endorse the legislation: http://4idaho.org/humanrights