Rally helps raise awareness for ending discrimination

Credit: Eric Turner/KTVB

Rally helps raise awareness for ending discrimination

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by Ty Brennan

Idaho's NewsChannel 7

Posted on January 29, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 11:17 PM

BOISE -- Some Idahoans wanting to see equal rights and the end to discrimination because of sexual orientation are rallying behind a recently introduced state senate bill.
   
Supporters of the bill gathered across the state in eleven cities, including Boise. Supporters said they are trying to show lawmakers that there is need for such a law on Idaho books.
           
The bill has failed in the past, fueling their increased efforts this year.

"We are here in support of Senate Bill 1033," said Mistie Tolman, who attended the rally.

That bill would amend Idaho's current Human Rights Act to protect people from discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity -- two groups currently not protected from discrimination under Idaho law.

“As an individual I can't be fired or discriminated against for things out of my control, like my gender, my ethnic background and I think that needs to be the case for sexual orientation,” said Chrysa Rich, who attended the rally.

For Herbie Pollard of Boise, he said this particular legislation is personal to him.

“The fair employment legislation is essential to make sure that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) citizens in Idaho don't feel threatened when they're at work, don't feel vulnerable,” Pollard said.

Pollard said he knows all too well the feeling of being discriminated against. He said he was fired from a job because he is gay.

“Anyone who has been fired knows what that feels like, but being fired because of who you are -- you just feel so empty,” said Pollard.

“People are still being fired for being gay, people are still being denied housing," said Lindsey Matson, who attended the rally. "We've heard those stories today. We need the justice.”

For those at the rally, they said they're hoping lawmakers will understand that this type of legislation needs to be passed and that it has the support of many Idahoans.

“A lot of lawmakers have said that they’re not exactly against this type of legislation, they're just not sure how their constituents feel," Matson said.  "So this is to show them that their constituents are in support of something like this."

The last time the Idaho Human Rights Act was amended was back in 2007. That amendment added the protection to those with disabilities.
 

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