Jazz singer-songwriter Curtis Stigers will perform at a Statehouse rally at 1 p.m. Saturday aimed at building support to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the anti-discrimination provisions in the Idaho Human Rights Act.
Proponents have been pressing lawmakers for eight years to expand the 1969 law and in October won key support from law’s author, former Republican Gov. Phil Batt.
In 2012, the Senate State Affairs Committee declined to introduce a bill making the changes, meaning there was no hearing on the bill. In 2013, an informational hearing — without testimony from the general public — was held in the same committee, but no bill was considered. Organizers are pressing for a full public hearing this year.
The Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment and housing based on race, gender, color, religion, national origin and disability, but does not cover gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgender persons.
A news release from the Add the Words, Idaho campaign follows:
Boise, Idaho — Add the Words invites Idahoans to show legislature it is past time to hold a public hearing to Add the Words.
Add the Words, Idaho will be hosting a rally on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 1:00pm. The rally will be held on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol in downtown Boise and the general public is invited to attend.
“Across the state, people are growing restless and frustrated,” said Add the Words spokesperson Mistie Tolman. “Harm is done when lawmakers fail to say in law that cruelty is wrong. For eight years now we’ve been asking for the dignity of a public hearing, an open discussion, and for them to hear us.”
The afternoon program will consist of performances by Curtis Stigers and the Common Ground Community Chorus, as well as speakers from across the state and bill sponsors Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb and Representative Grant Burgoyne.
“People lose their jobs, their apartments, and live in fear each day. We ask the public, to bundle up, rain or shine, bring umbrellas, and show our legislature this is wrong. And that we stand with our LGBT family and friends,” said Lisa Perry, Add the Words Organizer.