Saturday, February 21, 2009

Idaho goes back to the 19th century

Idaho state Senators have killed a bill in committee that would protect people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, again. In a wave of states passing increasingly more inclusive bills and laws, we still have places left to fight, and fight hard.

A state Senate committee on Friday rejected a proposal to forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

About 50 supporters of the proposed change to the Idaho Human Rights Act filed quietly out of the room, some in tears, after the Senate State Affairs Committee voice vote. Similar bills have been rejected in the past.

Idaho's 1968 Human Rights Act currently forbids workplace and housing discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color, national origin or mental or physical disability. The measure defeated Friday would have prohibited discrimination in employment, education and housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Co-Sponsor Sen. Charles Coiner, R-Twin Falls, compared the gay, lesbian and transgender community's push to be included in the law to the push to forbid discrimination based on physical or mental disability.

"Their movement is a few years behind but it's moving forward," Coiner said. "We've got work to do."

Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, the state's only openly gay lawmaker, said because there is no due process for those in the gay, lesbian and transgender community who feel they are victims of discrimination, they "endure in silence."

"By virtue of its omission (from the law) many employers and many people feel that it's OK" to discriminate, said LeFavour, another co-sponsor.
Wait, just to clarify: gay rights is equivalent to rights for people with mental illness? Please, Mary, don't start with me. I'm telling you, weird shit is happening out there in the Rocky Mountain states.


Stories I've not posted on because they are just, well, there:

1. Half of NJ voters support gay marriage -- NJ is one of the states on the "next" list for equal marriage.

2. Wisconsin may be getting a DP registry.

I mean, really, whoo-freaking-hoo. But, other bloggers are talking about, so I thought I might as well say something.

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