Idaho Senate Rejects Bill Forbidding Sexual Orientation Discrimination

In a voice vote on Friday, Idaho's Senate State Affairs Committee rejected a bill that would have forbid employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation:

"About 50 supporters of the proposed change to the Idaho Human Rights
Act filed quietly out of the room, some in tears, after the 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."

LeFavour expressed her sorrow over the defeat in a lengthy blog post following the vote:

"There is harm being done to good people every day we delay, every
single day that we remain one of the few states that does not allow gay
people the simple right to be employed, to go to school, to live
somewhere regardless of who we love, who we have spent our lives with. Where is the time for bravery? For justice? For eloquence? I can’t
do this alone. Believe me. Can we not be brave enough to make some step
forward this year?"


  1. says

    “About 50 supporters of the proposed change to the Idaho Human Rights Act filed quietly out of the room, some in tears, after the vote.”

    My God. We’re asking for what is ours to TAKE – a birthright. Not to sound harsh (I would have been crying also), but where is the rage? Heterosexuals would have STAYED in that room until they were treated fairly – i.e. – the SAME as everyone else – yet we leave in tears?

    We have SO MUCH power in our wallets, yet everyone is terrified to USE it. We need to switch that around – The I.R.S. should be terrified of US, and the FEDS should be terrified of NOT including us (and our money) in America’s promise.

  2. says

    You know, even back when I was growing up in the 70’s, I knew Idaho was nothing but a backwards state, not worth memorizing its capital, and will always be the potato growing hicks in a weird looking state that they make themselves to be! Thank my god I will NEVER go to this state, fly OVER this state and I sure as HELL never will be driving through this state.

    Check out the 318 bigots who donated to Prop H8 –>

  3. brentbent says

    @Mike–don’t be dissing a state you’ve never even visited based on some stupid stereotyping that if applied to gay people would probably get you all up in arms. I have lived in Idaho for the last 15 years after living in Gainesville and Tampa Florida for the vast majority of my life and I prefer it here far more than there. Yes, Idaho is one of the reddest red states around but a good portion of those people aren’t wingnut conservatives but live and let live libertarians and we did indeed defeat, about a decade ago before gay became kind of cool, a proposition that would’ve made it illegal for any government employee to mention homosexuality in a positive light including teachers, librarians, health care workers, etc. so we aren’t that backwards. In fact, Idaho just voted in its first democrat in some time, Rep. Walt Minnick, to the federal level and Obama did far better here than either Gore or Kerry and the county I live in actually turned blue this year. Your ignorant “they aren’t worth bothering to know” attitude is the same useless behavior that homophobes invoke to not bother getting to know gay people. There’s plenty of GLBTQ people who choose to live in Idaho and are happy here so don’t dismiss our homes just so you can feel superior.

    BTW, you’re really missing out on not driving through our state as it is one of the most beautiful regions in the country with over half of our land protected by the government and less than 1.3 million people living here there are plenty of places of astounding natural beauty to be found, which is one of the main reasons I moved here. One summer while doing environmental activism work with Earth First! in the Salmon-Selway Wilderness Area a German couple pointed out that in their nation there aren’t any vast, unspoiled wilderness areas and that we should be proud that we as a people decided to set aside wilderness areas not only so some areas of our country will remain undeveloped but also so our children and their children will be able to experience America’s environmental nature the way it was centuries ago.

    As far as not getting the law passed, this is, as I said, one of the reddest states and that is especially true when it comes to the state legislature, which is so backwards looking that it has an actual rule that requires all women to wear dresses or skirts and no pants while in chambers. Yes, we are not SF or NY but we are moving forward as a generation ago people wouldn’t even bothered to try such legislation and keep in mind that the legislation was sponsored by a republican and an out democrat, which means even a super red state can elect non-straight people to their state legislature. People don’t change instantaneously, change takes time and effort and forcefully demanding our rights like John Bisceglia suggest would only play into the militant stereotype that would be used as ammunition to continue deny us any rights in the future. What might work in a liberal big city won’t necessarily work here and I think we’re doing a pretty good job moving things forward especially considering there’s plenty of blue states that don’t have such laws on their books either.