The referendum to overturn the Nondiscrimination Ordinance has always been about protecting ALL Pocatello citizens from discriminatory, oppressive law. Pocatello’s so-called “non-discrimination ordinance” legalizes and promotes discrimination and bigotry against Pocatello citizens who just want to work hard, earn a decent living and raise their families. Should your friends and neighbors in Pocatello be forced to choose between living free or making a living?
It is UNFAIR; these laws are being used across America to force private citizens to participate and/or facilitate same-sex wedding and/or commitment ceremonies and celebrations in contradiction to their beliefs when an abundance of other businesses are readily available.
It is UNFAIR; Pocatello business owners who regularly service the LGBT population without exception could face jail time and/or fines for abiding by their convictions in limited situations in which their business overlaps into the marriage industry.
It is UNFAIR; that the privacy rights of our girls and women are put into jeopardy to be abused by criminals who will exploit the law.
It is UNFAIR; that people of varying faith backgrounds are being targeted by extreme activists who are using these laws, not to protect our LGBT community, but to legalize discrimination and bigotry against people of faith who disagree with their views…
It is DISHONEST that the proponents of these laws don’t readily admit it is their intention to not only overturn Idaho’s marriage amendment, but to also enact state level protections, so that they may codify their view of morality and incorporate it into our public schools…
Pocatello MUST REPEAL the ordinance to protect our community from the hatred, bigotry and discrimination of the extremists who want to ridicule, stigmatize and criminalize people of traditional beliefs.
Another group, in the capital city of Boise, has also banded together to fight for the rights of LGBTQ people. This group, with its campaign Add The Words, is protesting in the capital in order to amend the Idaho Human Rights Act to include protections for gender identity and sexual orientation. One of the leaders of the protests is Nicole LeFavour, a former Idaho State Senator and the first openly gay lawmaker in the state. She also made headlines last week when she was arrested and banned from the Senate floor after she was found hiding in a closet in the Statehouse. When asked why she was hiding in the closet, LeFavour said that “Closets are never safe for gay or transgender people. It’s a very large closet. There are lots of people in closets out there, and they’re not comfortable.” LeFavour and others have been calling for the words “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to be added to the Human Rights Act for years, but it’s never even had a full committee hearing. This was the sixth time LeFavour has been arrested for protesting in the Capitol.
The Add the Words campaign has been protesting in the halls of the capitol building by standing with their hands over their mouths to represent how they are being silenced by the lawmakers. So far this season, around 100 protesters have been arrested. Jess McCafferty, one of the protesters described the protests as being “somber — it was hard to watch people stand in front of doors that others were trying to get through. People were yelling whenever they were touched, so a crowd of people otherwise silent would start yelling — it was a very jarring experience.” She said that “the goal was to show the legislators that they weren’t going away — the problems weren’t going away, the people who identify as gay and transgender weren’t going away, the plea to be heard would not go away.”
Idaho has long been a solidly Red state, and these movements calling for equal protection of LGBTQ people could bring a welcome change. Although seven cities across the state have passed non-discrimination ordinances in the past few years, the fact that the issue is being flat out ignored at a state level and that there is a movement to get rid of the protections at a city level is very troubling. Idaho currently has no protection for LGBTQ people in it’s hate crime laws and no statewide protection from being fired or denied housing based on gender identity or sexual orientation, so if the Human Rights Act isn’t amended and the city non-discrimination ordinance is repealed, the well-being and safety of LGBTQ people in the state would be put at risk. Thankfully, citizens have risen up and decided that they are going to fight for the rights of LGBT Idahoans. These campaigns may be fighting an uphill battle, but they are tenacious and hard working. If you want to get involved in the fight to help secure protections of LGBT Idahoans, Add the Words protests are still going on in Boise and across the state, and the Fair Pocatello campaign is currently looking for volunteers and open for donations.