BOISE -- Gov. Butch Otter spoke to a group of assembled media this week. He talked about guns on campus, the economy, and agriculture. But, one of the biggest topics was the recent news involving the LGBT community.
Bills recently introduced by Rep. Lynn Luker (R-Boise) would bolster the rights of licensed professionals to refuse service or employment to those who violate their religious beliefs, like gay people.
Also, the legislature will again not pass legislation which would add the words, sexual orientation and gender identity to Idaho's Human Rights Act. That's even after former Republican Gov. Phil Batt supported that idea.
Otter responded, It's something, that Phil is asking, that could happen. Whether or not this legislature is willing to go forward with it, is up to them.
But, the governor has long strived to get more business moving to the state.
When asked if an anti-gay reputation might harm Idaho's ability to draw in national companies, Otter said he didn't think so.
I can't point to one company I've visited with or that said if you don't do this or even suggested that was a problem, he said. I don't know that company's look to the political. They don't say 'geez you're a really red state and that's why I'm coming here.' What they look at is the public policy. They look at tax policy. They look at predictability. They look at the enthusiasm that communities have for bringing them in.
So, what would Otter say to someone who is gay, who is thinking about moving to Idaho - a state that does not recognize gay marriage - to work?
I'd say that we're a great state to live in. Probably, the employer that you're going to work for is a great employer, and good luck.
The governor was also asked about a proposed bill that requires gay couples living in Idaho, who are married legally elsewhere, to file separate state tax returns. He said he has appointed a committee to look at all tax policies in Idaho. He doesn't know if they'll address that, but he suspects they will.