Friday, January 30, 2015

No gay rights or Mormon rights this year in Idaho!

This week Idaho lawmakers stopped a bill in its tracks that would have created protections for GLBT communities. The proposed legislation would have added sexual orientation and gender identity into Idaho’s Human Rights Act.  Idaho GLBT rights groups have been trying for nine years to get legislation before their lawmakers. 

All of this comes two days after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- of which I am a proud and loyal member, announced that it supported much of the nondiscrimination legislation presented by various states and municipalities.This latest bill would have granted job and housing protections for gay and transgender people.

I have been at the top  of the Idaho State
Capital Dome looking down.  Almost puked.
Idaho is the first state with an established Mormon population to have considered such a bill since the LDS church's announcement. Idaho's House State Affairs Committee consists of the Legislature’s conservative lawmakers and includes several Mormons. They voted 13 to 4 to prevent the bill from moving to the House floor effectively killing the bill and sucking the juice out of it. 

Keep reading, however for the silver spud lining.

The vote was split right down party lines -- Republicans opposing it and Democrats voting in favor of the bill. Bills of this nature are usually not revised and presented again in the same legislative section, so we are probably looking for something similar to be presented next year.

Tangent Alert: Next year. Perfect for doing what will be needed to get this through Idaho's house and senate. "What will be needed to pass a non-discrimination bill?" you ask? Blessed little.  I think it would have passed had the Churches announcement not come out ironically.  I think Mormon Republicans quickly pulled back to make sure that the "religious legislation passed as well - so they will go back and add that section to the bill and it will pass with many rainbow colors flying. It will read something like this -- gays can't be kicked out of their jobs or their apartments for being gay, and neither can Mormons for being Mormons, or Catholics for being Catholic, etc. Yes, we have gotten to the point where we have to legislate kindness, and dang it if we aren't going to. End of Tangent. Amen.

Monday's testimony in Idaho's State capital included an account by a transgender teenager who told of having been referred to as "it" by grade school teachers.  Several heartfelt storied were presented to the lawmakers and to more that one thousand visiting the capital to support the bill.

And now for...whatever this is:

Republican Representative Ken Andrus said this concerning the bills failure to pass: "If we pass the bill today as it is worded, it would create a barrier between you folks in favor of adding the words and the so-called straight community and it will be a giant step backwards, not forwards."

Let me rephrase that statement for those of you scratching your heads.

"If we pass this law it is just going to annoy the straight folk."  

Coming from a long line of straight Mormon folk -- a lot of us/them deserve to be annoyed. Not making waves is no excuse for allowing discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, sexual preference or gender identity in situations of housing or employment.

Republican lawmakers said they worried the measure would lead to lawsuits against those who refused services to gay and transgender people based on religious beliefs  Maybe so. Therefore, let's add them as well!  Sign us all up. Grant protections to everyone. (We should have just allowed rights and respect to everyone from the beginning, but, heck, we can do it now with very little skin off of our nose.)

So, add religious people to those who want rights, and why not.

Doesn't everyone deserve them? 


  1. I have no problem if language is added that people cannot be fired or denied housing based on their religion. Fair to everyone. But I do have a problem with a carve out for people to deny LGBTQ people service at a public business or institution because of their relgious beliefs. Where does that stop? If the white owner of a public restaurant has a firm religious belief that black people and white people should not mix, should they be allowed to ban black people from their restaurant? How about a deeply conservative right wing Christian who thinks Muslims are evil (like the ones who berated the peaceful Muslim group at the Texas State Capitol this week.) If they own a bakery open to the public, okay for them refuse to bake a wedding cake for a Muslim couple on religious grounds? Are you really comfortable with a religious carve out for such kinds of discrimination? If yes, why? If not, why then is it okay for LGBTQ people to be treated like this at a public business or institution? Should we allow a Mormon business person to require customers to produce temple recommends to determine if those he publicly sells to are "worthy" of his goods or services? Does it really offend my religion if I sell something to a law abiding customer in a business open to the public, even if I do not agree with the private beliefs or conduct of that customer? I have never heard of a Christian baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a couple who had sex before their marriage, or a Catholic baker not making a cake for divorced people getting married again (which has to offend their religious beliefs). It seems like only wedding cakes for gay people suddenly raise a relgious issue. If the religious standard is not fairly applied to all, then seems to me it is more about plain old prejudice than religion. And plain old prejudice should not be alowed in a business or institution open to the public.

    1. This is a question that I have had myself. Is it part of anyone's religion to dis-allow a person with a different color a product or a service? Or respect?

      Is it a matter of religion to deny a person who looks soooo much better in heels that you ever will a chair in you business? It has never been. I hate a culture that feels it has to legislate kindness and civility, but here we are. I say, go ahead and legislate it at this point. Open up the respect issue to include everyone. Then forget the silly law and love and respect others regardless of their funny underwear or their misspelled tatoo.

  2. The thing about the wedding cakes is that if you bake a cake for a wedding, you're essentially supporting that wedding. I refuse to show support in any way shape or form for the marriage of two people of the same gender. Though you do bring up a double-standard that should be eliminated. If I owned a bakery, I would try to find an atheist partner or something who could bake such cakes with no religious qualms