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Anti-Discrimination Rally Aimed at Statehouse

March 26, 2008

Boise, ID – Discrimination against Idahoans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LBGT) is still okay under Idaho law when it comes to job statutes. A bill that would have amended the Idaho Human Rights Act to prohibit work-related discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been held in committee.

Backers of the bill say that won't stop them from trying to get legislators to listen. They're rallying today at 12:30 p.m. on the south side of the Capitol Annex, 514 W. Jefferson, Boise. The rally is being organized by the Idaho Women's Network, The Interfaith Alliance, and Idaho Equality.

Emilie Jackson-Edney is a transgendered Boisean who says towns and states all across the country have passed similar anti-discrimination laws in the interest of fairness.

"The aim of this whole thing is simply that LGBT people would be allowed to keep their jobs and to make a living. There's nothing radical about that."

Opponents of amending the law believe it would legitimize homosexuality, which they object to on religious grounds. Jackson-Edney argues the simple wording in the act respects those opposing views and doesn't force acceptance when there are religious objections.

She adds that several corporations have shown support for the bill because it would help them recruit highly qualified candidates who may be wary of Idaho. She contends that LGBT Idahoans need some assurance of their right to earn a living just like everyone else.

"It's extremely important that people be able to work, and to help eliminate the fear some people have of just being themselves."

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - ID