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Idaho Lawmaker's Website Gets LGBTrolled After Backing Resolution to Impeach Pro-Equality Judges

Shepherd 

An Idaho state Representative who last week authored a resolution urging Congress to impeach any judge who rules in favor of gay marriage is receiving some brilliant backlash from a LGBT advocate with an eye for domain registry expiration. 

State Rep. Paul Shepherd, whose House Joint Memorial 4 passed the Idaho House in a 44-25 vote Friday, said he decided to author the resolution because "somehow, someday we’ve gotta take a stand" and that "you can’t say an immoral behavior according to God’s word, what we’ve all been taught since the beginning, is something that’s just."

The domain for Shepherd's political website paulshepherdusa.com, expired earlier this month according to the AP and was snatched up by 21-year-old college student Dylan Hailey on Sunday in reaction to the controversial resolution. The site has since been transformed into a LGBT resource site calling for Shepherd to "meet with the local LGBT community to help him with his fears of it."

Shepherd, however, doesn't seem to want to budge on things and reacted to the news of his campaign site's overhaul in unsurprising fashion: comparing gays to slave owners.

“Slave owners were very good Christians and good people...They weren't terrible rotten horrible people,” Shepherd explained to Idaho Report's Melissa Davlin. They were just people who made terrible decisions.

"And that's how I see gay people."


Idaho House Calls On Congress To Impeach Judges Who Rule In Favor Of Marriage Equality

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Idaho Republican lawmakers want to impeach judges who rule in favor of same-sex marriage. 

In a 44-25 vote, the Idaho House on Friday passed a non-binding resolution calling on Congress to impeach judges who go beyond the "original intent" of the U.S. Constitution when it comes to marriage.

Supporters of the resolution believe marriage should be left to the states under the 10th Amendment, and are outraged that the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection is being applied to gay people. 

From The Spokesman-Review

Sheperd“I think somehow, someday we’ve gotta take a stand,” GOP Rep. Paul Shepherd (right) told the House. A sixth-term state representative from Riggins who owns a sawmill and log home company, Shepherd was the author and sponsor of the measure.

“You can’t say an immoral behavior according to God’s word, what we’ve all been taught since the beginning, is something that’s just, and that’s really kinda what this is all about,” he told the House. “We’d better uphold Christian morals. As an example, how about fornication, adultery and other issues.”

More from The Times-News

“The men that wrote the 14th Amendment would be turning over in their graves if they could see it was being interpreted in such a way as to force states to accept same-sex marriage,” said Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls.

Eleven Republicans joined 14 Democrats in opposing the measure. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Idaho since last year, despite Republican Gov. Butch Otter's legal crusade against it. One recent poll showed that 53 percent of Idahoans now support same-sex marriage.

From The Spokesman-Review

McCrostieRep. John McCrostie (right), D-Boise, who is gay, told the House, “Of all the bills that I’ve voted on in the last weeks, HJM 4 causes me the most hurt. … This bill is personal, and it hurts me. … This bill implies that my marriage isn’t worth as much as someone else’s.”

More from McCrostie in The Times-News

“Is my marriage so despicable that a federal judge should be impeached?” he asked.

Since the resolution likely won’t result in any federal judges being impeached, McCrostie said, all it does at the end of the day is give lawmakers something to campaign on while telling gay Idahoans they are worthless.

Another Democratic lawmaker said the resolution would only hurt Idaho's image: 

“This puts us in the Web, this puts us in the news, as a state that is intolerant and does not understand the important separation of powers,” said Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise.

Shepherd, the author of the resolution, said he also would have voted to impeach Chief Justice Earl Warren over the Supreme Court's decisions in the early 1960s ending mandatory prayer in schools.

Given that he supports the "original intent" of the Constitution, Shepherd also presumably would advocate counting African-Americans as three-fifths of a person.   

Read the full resolution, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Idaho House Calls On Congress To Impeach Judges Who Rule In Favor Of Marriage Equality" »


Dozens of LGBT Activists Arrested At Idaho State Capitol In Second Major Protest This Year

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Idaho has become a hotbed for LGBT direct action. In fact, it seems to be one of the few states where activists are still willing to go to jail to fight for equal rights. 

On Monday, for the second time this month, dozens of people from the "Add The Words, Idaho" campaign were arrested for protesting in support of statewide LGBT protections, after they refused to leave bill-drafting offices at the Capitol in Boise. 

The Associated Press reports: 

Idaho State Police made 25 arrests, including six people who were arrested twice, Monday for trespassing in the Statehouse. Protesters staged three different demonstrations Monday.

Activists taking part in the protest warned in a statement that they would not voluntarily leave until legislators consider adding four words -- sexual orientation and gender identity -- to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Back in January, a state House committee killed a proposal to add LGBT protections to the Human Rights Act after 21 hours of testimony. Earlier this month, 23 activists were arrested in a similar protest. And last year, 32 "Add The Words, Idaho" protesters were arrested.  

Idaho is among the states where same-sex couples can marry — but can also be legally fired from their jobs for doing so. 

It's truly refreshing to see this type of nonviolent resistance, especially when our other strategies don't always seem to be working. And it's doubtful the media would have paid much attention if the group had simply sent out another fundraising email. 

Our only advice to "Add The Words, Idaho" would be to update social media with photos and video from the protest. Then again, that's kind of hard to do when you're in handcuffs. 

Here's a shot of the protesters being led away from the Capitol:  


23 Gay Rights Activists Arrested In Idaho State Capitol

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Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.19.19 PMAn estimated 23 gay rights activists were arrested in Idaho yesterday morning after protesting in the Idaho House and Senate chambers, attempting to pressure lawmakers to pass anti-discrimination protections reports Boise State Public Radio. The activists, wearing black shirts that said, "Add the 4 words Idaho," warned they would not leave until legislators added sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act. Protesters risked arrest if they did not disperse before the House and Senate convened; Police began to arrest protesters that refused to leave on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, two of whom were juveniles. The group issued a statement to the media on the matter.

Said Protesters: 

"Plain and simply, it is time the Idaho Legislature to use its voice to set the field level for those who live quiet lives in all our communities, those who are your own daughters and sons, those who deserve for our state to set in law that unfair businesses practices and intentional cruelty and discrimination against them is wrong."

This protest follows similar protests held during 2014s legislative session; up to 100 protesters were charged and arrested with misdemeanor trespassing during those protests. Republican lawmakers rejected legislation that would have amended the state’s Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity earlier this year. A House committee heard over 20 hours of testimony, with most in favor of passing the bill however, concern over the bill’s impact on religious freedoms caused the panel to vote the measure down.


Idaho House Committee Kills 'Add the Words' LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

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(twitter)

Idaho's House State Affairs Committee has voted 13-4 along party lines to defeat a bill that would have added "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the state's Human Rights Act. 

The Idaho Statesman reports:

"We have come a long way. I think this very hearing has brought us a long, long way," said Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, addressing supporters of the bill. "Do not despair. Your concerns are legitimate, very legitimate, and people in Idaho and in the Legislature have heard you and are hearing you."

But, he added, "We have to be very careful how we make those rules and today my feeling is that this is not the rule that addresses the whole picture."

Thursday's vote came after nearly 21 hours of public testimony Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

KBOI2 adds many supporters of the bill left the auditorium in tears, and lined the halls of the Statehouse with their hands over their mouths in silent protest. 

The Statesman, which came out in support of the bill in an editorial this week, had a sticky note on yesterday's front page reading "Add No Words: Stand Up to Bullying!"

Mike Jung, the paper's publisher, offered the following statement in regards to the front-page ad:

Idaho"It's unfortunate the advertising Post It note that appeared on the front page of the Statesman has created hurt and anger among some readers. That was not the intent.

"We welcome and encourage open discussion and dialogue among many topics, including the legislation to ban discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people, commonly referred to as Add the Words. In fact, if a company or individual wanted to communicate they were in favor of the legislation, we would have accepted their paid advertising. Our position is clear on the billas we strongly support its passing.

"Regarding the paper accepting the ad, we provide a platform for both sides of every issue. I would have accepted the same Post-It note if it had read, 'Add the Words, Stop the Bullying.' We offer the same advertising opportunities regardless of the opinion shared within the advertisement. That said, we reserve the right to refuse advertisements that include slanderous or defaming statements. Wednesday's ad was marked as 'Paid for by Lance Wells.' "

Wells, a Christian writer and musician, has called homosexuality "a perversion – a very serious sin – that its practitioners and defenders will invariably demand that others accept it, approve of it, and (to one degree or another) participate in it." 

He also thinks homosexuality should be re-criminalized:

I would prefer to see the United States reenact laws condemning these unhealthy and indecent lifestyles in the most certain of terms, implementing serious consequences for those found guilty of practicing them.  For such people are, quite literally, enemies of the state.  Their behavior spreads spiritual, mental, and physical disease and disorder.  It undermines the most important bastions of society:  the Church and the family.


LGBT Rights Activists and ‘Supporters of Religious Freedom’ Face Off in Idaho Hearing on Non-Discrimination Bill: VIDEO

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As we reported yesterday, an Idaho House Committee had finally agreed to hear testimony on a proposed non-discrimination bill that would add protections for Idahoans based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The hearing, which began yesterday and continues today, saw at-times heated disagreement between LGBT rights activists who have long campaigned for legislators to "add the words" "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the state's existing Human Rights Act and backers of so-called "religious freedom" who claim that adding protections for LGBT individuals would infringe upon the rights of the religious.

The AP reports:

"Don't make laws that protect (against) laws against nature and sexual deviant acts," said Paul Thompson of Twin Falls. "Regardless of sexual orientation, it is a law that makes a mockery of all that is created and to our creator."

State Rep. John McCrostie of Boise, currently Idaho's only openly gay state lawmaker, responded that he, too, was a Christian and asked if Thompson's beliefs were greater than his own.

"I respect an individual's desire to want to live out their lives as they feel compelled to do so," Thompson said. "But I owe myself authority to the written word of God."

Many LGBT individuals spoke up at the hearing to share their own stories of discrimination in an attempt to underscore the importance of the bill:

"I want to be valued as a human being based on the person that I am, the person that my mother raised me to be," said Julie Stratton of Post Falls. "Please include my wife and me as fully equal citizens of this state and help us to be proud of living here."

Stratton's testimony —along with many other personal stories of discrimination from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Idahoans— was countered by the many concerns coming from pastors, small business owners and national conservative organizations afraid the bill would infringe on free speech and religious freedoms.  

Arizona-based United Families International President Laura Bunker cited cases in other states where businesses were sued for declining to serve to same-sex couples getting married. 

"In the end these non-discrimination laws are not fair to all. Someone is ultimately discriminated against," Bunker said. "Why would Utah, or Idaho, sorry, want to put that kind of wedge between its citizens?"

As KIVI News Boise reports, the hearing will resume Tuesday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and again at 5:00 pm if needed.

You can watch a livestream of the Idaho House committee's ongoing session today, HERE

And watch video on the testimony given yesterday, AFTER THE JUMP... (warning: autoplay)

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Continue reading "LGBT Rights Activists and ‘Supporters of Religious Freedom’ Face Off in Idaho Hearing on Non-Discrimination Bill: VIDEO" »


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