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Idaho

‘Add the Words’ activists eye bill that would allow denial of service to gays

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BOISE, Idaho — Gay rights activists were stymied again this year in winning a hearing to “add the words” sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Now, however, they say a separate bill seeking to do what they call the opposite — to bolster religious professionals’ rights to deny service to gays — could provide a powerful venue to testify publicly on virtually the very same issue.

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KTVB

Former Boise Democratic state Sen. Nicole LeFavour said Wednesday she’d prefer a bona fide hearing on enshrining discrimination protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals in Idaho code.

Short of that, however, LeFavour, Idaho’s first openly gay lawmaker, said Rep. Lynn Luker’s proposal, introduced Tuesday, to shield religious doctors, nurses, police, chiropractors, teachers and numerous other professionals from threat of license revocation raises the very issues important to “Add the Words” activists.

“That’s exactly the way we’ll see it, since we’re never allowed to talk about what it’s like to live in fear that somebody is going to say, ‘We don’t serve you, we don’t care for people like you,’” LeFavour said in an interview. “I would prefer we had a hearing on a bill that actually afforded us respect and protected people from living in fear and despair.”

Luker, a Boise Republican, brought his measure as a response to what he sees as a bundle of government decisions and court cases he fears have potential to undermine the rights of Christians and other devoutly religious people to live according to their beliefs.

Against this backdrop, Luker said, the time was right to have a debate on, in his view, Idaho’s obligation to protect people with strongly held religious beliefs.

“Certainly, I anticipated this would generate discussion — and a lively one,” Luker said Wednesday.

There’s still no hearing date scheduled for his bill, though Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher, House State Affairs Committee chairman, expects to schedule one soon.

Though he hadn’t previously dedicated much thought to a venue, Loertscher suggested something as large as “the Colosseum in Rome” might be necessary to accommodate everyone, should a hearing draw as much interest as past “Add the Words” rallies.

Two years ago, its backers nearly filled the Idaho Capitol’s 240-seat Lincoln Auditorium.

At that 2012 hearing, the Senate State Affairs Committee rejected a proposed Human Rights Act update.

House Assistant Minority Leader Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise and a critic of Republican leadership’s decision not to schedule a 2014 hearing on the issue, says he, too, views Luker’s bill as an opportunity for his side to underscore its arguments: Not having protections for gays and lesbians in Idaho law opens the door for discrimination of the variety promoted by Luker’s legislation, as well as the State Tax Commission rules on gay couples’ filings, Burgoyne said.

“Rep. Luker puts the same issues equally before the Legislature,” Burgoyne said. “It does give us an opportunity to continue to have a discussion, to change minds.”

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33 more reader comments:

  1. There sure are a lot of closet-cases in Idaho.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:30pm
  2. Sad. Freedom and peace for all in America.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:31pm
  3. So why do they believe that their Christian “rights” (a lifestyle choice) supersede my human rights?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:34pm
  4. Can I ask what human rights are being violated

    Replied on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 11:08pm
  5. Seems like most Idahoan are akin to an ass'es particular anatomy.

    Replied on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 1:31am
  6. You have to ask, Daniel? Well enough- the right to have your love and commitment recognized. The right to see your loved ones in the hospital. The right to continue living in the home of your loved one if they should die. The right to be recognized as part of a whole, with an equal voice in matters concerning your partner. Loving v Virginia established marriage as a civil right. I don't see why this suddenly ceases to be the case if one partner is a member of the same sex.

    Replied on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:42am
  7. “Strongly-held religious beliefs” is an ethically and logically blank term. Strongly-held ignorance is still ignorance; strongly-held paranoia is still paranoia. It doesn’t matter whether or not it comes in a package marked “RELIGION: DO NOT QUESTION” – question it anyways, because religion does not /ever/ deserve a free pass over human rights and civil equality.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:36pm
  8. Cops? So they think christian police officers should be allowed to deny “service” to the LGBT community if their religious beliefs are offended? Wow! Talk about our country’s regression. That’s the same bullshit excuse racist cops gave when they refused to protect African-Americans. Shameful

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:36pm
  9. .. Police, doctors and nurses. So police can refuse to help you if you're being killed, and nurses and doctors can refuse to save your life if someone takes you to the hospital. This bill would make murder almost permissible.

    Replied on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:47am
  10. This doesnt make any sense at all, this would totally open up the door for all types of discrimination. Smh very ignorant.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:37pm
  11. I think the big question is what makes the shit stains who compose 99% of that cesspool of a state think their little bigoted opinions matter to actual humans?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:38pm
  12. Is Anti-Gay a civil concept?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:40pm
  13. I’m not laying back to watch a bunch of idiots push the gay community back in hiding.
    Putin has his people including in the government scared of saying anything about the anti gay laws they have in Russia.
    If our government pushes us, then a total boycott against businesses can go in effect, meaning gay people will not do business with them, but also bisexual will either. And stats show there is more bisexual men and women they didn’t count on boycotting there businesses

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:41pm
  14. There is only one U.S. Constitution.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:44pm
  15. When did Idaho, Kansas and Indiana become part of Iran? What part of “equal protection under the law” do they not understand? This is the latest tactic of the American Taliban to keep gay tax paying citizens second class and they will not stand.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:54pm
  16. Ugh….I’m a “Christian” but I’m about to denounce my faith, to keep from being lumped in their category! So tired of this BS! Makes me homicidal. Lol

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:59pm
  17. and likewise !! Since I am trained in Emergency care as a first responder, I will look the other way for these people. It goes both ways!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 10:09pm
  18. Using religion to deny basic services to gays is ridiculous. Just look at this scenario: Having a heart attack? Need an ambulance? Heart Surgery? Yes? Well, the only hospital nearby that can save you is Catholic. Gay? Oh, well! Too bad for you because you’re gay!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 10:10pm
  19. Religion is choice, sexual orientation is not.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 10:10pm
  20. Good I don’t want to give you my money anyway

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 10:18pm
  21. if i were a bakery i wouldnt want to serve gays or striaghts unless they were celibate choice offeres by pujblic affirmation what if i was celibate person how elese would i be noticed

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 10:22pm
  22. Can’t wait to see these things smacked down, as they deserve to be. Only a matter of time, even if this idiocy passes temporarily.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 10:54pm
  23. Hey, idiots! It’s a FEDERAL LAW that prevents you from discriminating against people! You’re not going to override a FEDERAL LAW with your own goddamn ignorance!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 11:20pm
  24. The right to be treated the same as everyone else Daniel, I should not be subject to discrimination because of something I can’t change…. You can change religions, you can’t change sexually.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 11:43pm
  25. Another way to look at it is to substitute another race or religion for the word gay… Are you offended now?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 11:52pm
  26. douches

    Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 12:11am
  27. Fuck Idaho. The Neo Nazi capital of the US

    Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 6:04am
  28. THis is total horseshit

    Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 6:13am
  29. Thats not equal protection under the law. What part do they not get? Instant strike down by the courts…

    Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 6:42am
  30. Violation og 5th Amendment rights by violating 1st amendment. What next? Witch burning?

    Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:36am
  31. Separation of Church and State….unconstitutional.

    Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 9:15am
  32. No one should be allowed to discriminate!

    Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 11:09am
  33. Civil rights trump religious rights. All they’re doing is wasting hard-earned tax dollars by wasting our time with this bullshit. Christianity is an ugly religion.

    Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 11:42am