Lawmakers want to add words to Idaho Human Rights Act

Credit: Eric Turner/KTVB

Lawmakers want to add words to Idaho Human Rights Act

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 3:21 AM

BOISE -- Some Idaho lawmakers want the state to follow the path of several cities by adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

But getting this done on the state level has proven to be difficult in years past.

Those who want to see the words added are hopeful that will be the year, but at this point it might just be too early to say.

In hopes of educating and raising awareness, Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb and Rep. Grant Burgoyne put together a panel of six people to discuss why adding the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" would be beneficial to Idaho.

The panel was made up of people from different backgrounds - each with a belief that adding the words would do no harm.

Clark Krause is the Executive Director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership.  He meets with a hundred businesses each year and says they expect this language.

"Business won't come if they don't have it because they have to ensure that their employees and people that they're providing opportunity to, and bringing huge investments here, that they're safe here, that there's safety here," said Krause.

Buckner-Webb says the legislation is already written and she just needs to get other lawmakers on board.

"We heard that certain communities that folks had expected to be anti this legislation, have now embraced it, even some in the religious community. So I'm thinking it's becoming more palatable to some folks and we're understanding, it's also an economic issue," she said.

The Boise Democrat is referencing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its support of a similar non-discrimination ordinance in Salt Lake City back in 2009.

Buckner-Webb is acutely aware of what happened with this issue last year, when it didn't make it out of a print hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

KTVB reached out to all Republican members of that committee today, but were unable to speak with any of them to see if this legislation will be viewed differently this year compared to years past.

Right now there is no date for when this legislation will be brought forward, but Buckner-Webb says it will eventually happen.

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