Monday, October 20, 2014

Idaho's Newlyweds Could Lose Jobs, Housing

Last week for the first time in Idaho’s history, gay couples have the option of signing a single piece of paper – a marriage license – that gives them more than 1,000 legal rights and responsibilities.

These newly married couples are starting to wear their wedding rings to work. Many will put photos of their spouse, their wedding ceremony, and their families on their desks. They will show up hand in hand to look at a house for sale or rent. Unfortunately, in Idaho’s it’s completely legal to fire someone or refuse them housing simply because they are gay – or appear to be gay.

Add the Words, Idaho encourages the public and elected officials to support adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to Idaho’s Human Rights Act.

For years, legislative leadership has denied a hearing on the Add the Words bill. They have said they want to wait until marriage equality is decided. Well, the courts have ruled. Again and again, they’ve sent a clear message that discomfort with someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not a valid reason to deny them rights.

There are no more excuses – we fully expect that this year, the Idaho legislature will do as Governor Otter and former Governor Batt have suggested – print a bill, hold a testimony hearing on “Add the Words” and sign it into law!

Marriage equality was a hard-won fight and we offer our profound thanks to the four couples who sued for these basic rights. We also thank the lawyers who argued the unconstitutionality of denying these rights and the judges who supported the US Constitution and its guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Our friends, family, and neighbors now have the right to see their love and their relationships publicly recognized no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. We are so excited on their behalf, and we will work until they are truly equally protected in the eyes of the law.

Get out and vote for candidates who support equality (!vote/ccdn) and tell your legislators, our governor, and all your friends why we need to Add the Words in 2015!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sine Die in Idaho without Adding the Words

It's true. 

Last week the legislature adjourned sine die yet again without holding a hearing on an Add the Words bill. The lives of LGBT Idahoans, those who live in fear each day, are still being ignored. For the eighth consecutive session, by not saying in law that discrimination is wrong, leadership has sent the message that they are on the side of those who would discriminate. And this session, it became even more sinister, as the majority party tried to bring forth a so-called "religious freedom" bill--the same bill that has been pushed in states all over the country. Rather than protecting the most vulnerable of our communities, it would have protected those cruel enough to discriminate. Thanks to YOU, and the overwhelming numbers that came out in opposition to this bill, we made them think again about moving it forward and it died officially with the end of the session. It has unfortunately been said publicly by Rep. Luker that he wants to bring the bill back next session. 

While the session may have ended, OUR WORK HAS JUST BEGUN. Please keep watching our page for opportunities to help, opportunities to engage with legislators. Please keep writing those letters to your legislators, expressing your disappointment in their handling of the Add the Words legislation efforts. And remember, we're headed into election season and chances are there is an election near you that could use volunteers to try to replace legislators who are not listening to their constituents. 

We told them we would never give up, and we meant it. We are not going away, and with your help, session #9 will begin with this issue in the forefront of their minds.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wrapping up Wrap the Capitol

Add the Words supporters gather before marching to "wrap the capitol"

The sun chased the snow away, but the blustery freezing wind stayed as over 1500 people braved the weather to show the legislature that we will not sit quietly while they refuse to protect our LGBT friends, family, and neighbors. After a few short introductory words, where I pointed out the faults in the legislature’s excuses for not holding an Add the Words hearing, we were off. A line of people wrapped completely around the capitol, two and three rows deep, often times in clumps of people!! Car horns honked support as they drove by and the crowed cheered.  

We kept the microphone open to the public, and as we marched for the next 90 minutes or so, Carmine Caruso kept a steady stream of people coming to the microphone to offer testimony. From clergy to grandparents, from students to mothers, the stories were moving and genuine and heartfelt.  Stories that the legislature refuses to hear.

Add the Words supporters "wrap the capitol" with their presence to show
legislators they will not stop until the words are added.
While marching, you could hear stories from people talking about other protests they had taken part in, or chat with some legislators who had come out to say hello and thank us for being there (we saw Representative Mat Erpelding, Representative Ilana Rubel, Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb, and Senator Elliot Werk). Multiple news crews were conducting interviews as well. As marchers came around the corner for the last time, we gathered back at the statehouse steps where Doug Flanders led the crowd in a beautiful rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” As I sit here trying to summarize the feeling I still carry with me after this evening, all I can think of is the warm comfort of a supportive community, banding together to accomplish a goal. A goal of equality and fairness. And we SHALL overcome.  

-- Mistie Tolman, March 17, 2014, speaking about Add the Word's Wrap the Capitol event in Boise, Idaho

Media Coverage:
Add The Words Wraps Around the Capitol
Hundreds surround Idaho Statehouse in support of gay rights
Add the Words protesters 'wrap' Idaho Capitol
Video: Wrap the Capitol

Sunday, March 16, 2014

WRAP the CAPITOL - March 17 at the Idaho Statehouse

We’ve packed the gallery. We’ve packed the Capitol. Now it’s time to WRAP THE CAPITOL!

You have shown up in amazing ways this session—you have stood up for your LGBTQ brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors, children, and family. You have written letters, made phone calls, testified, and contacted your legislators. Sometimes the notice was very short, and still you brought huge numbers to drive home the point that discrimination is wrong, and that Idaho will not stand by and let her citizens be treated unfairly.

With only a few days left in the  Idaho legislative session, we need you to show up again and remind this legislature that they have not done the business of the people. They have not accomplished the things they were elected to do. We need to drive home the point that they still have time. This is the year. Now is the time to ADD THE WORDS. And that if they fail to Add the Words once again we will still be here and we will not give up until Idaho is a safe place for all of her citizens.

***WRAP THE CAPITOL*** MONDAY, MARCH 17th 2014, 5:00-7:00pm*** You know you're going to go downtown anyway, so before you head for that green beer, come support your LGBTQ community members, and take a stand for what is right on this St. Patrick's Day!



WHEN: Monday, March 17th 2014, 5:00-7:00pm

WHERE: CAPITOL BUILDING—meet on the front steps.

Bring your signs and be ready to march! We are going to WRAP ourselves completely around the capitol, marching around and around as the legislators leave for the day, so they have to see those they keep trying to ignore. So they have to see how many of us are in support of adding the words!!

Bring your testimonies (Just as if you are testifying at a hearing)!  If you feel compelled, we will have a microphone set up on the Capitol steps so that, as the legislators leave the building, they will hear us telling the stories that they refuse to hear. We will also record your stories for future use!

Remember: This is a peaceful protest, following all rules of peaceful assembly.

DO: Bring signs and testimonies

DO: Show up on time. We want to be in place; marching peacefully around the Capitol before lawmakers leave for the day. How amazing will it be for lawmakers to have to walk through us on their way to their cars?  Do show up and do bring your friends and families!

DO NOT: Block ANYTHING or ANYONE. This is a peaceful protest, and we will be following all statehouse rules. It’s the peoples’ house, and we are allowed to be there with our signs and our stories, but as the lawmakers leave, be respectful and make sure they can get through our line. DO NOT engage in any personal character attacks on legislators. Keep signs respectful and FOCUSED ON THE ISSUE.

REMEMBER: With this many people, things can escalate quickly. We need to stay calm, quiet and respectful. And most of all, we have to SHOW UP.

Retweet @AddTheWords: WRAP the CAPITOL Mon 5-7p to encourage legislative leadership to

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Hard to Watch" -- The Idaho Legislature and The Oscars.....

Thanks for sharing this beautiful blog Stacy Ericson!

Oscar Party Idaho Legislators?

After a hard week holding the line against Human Rights progress, Idaho legislators must have been ready to put their feet up and enjoy Oscar night. For months now, they have gone about their business in the white halls of the statehouse, while trying to avoid making eye contact with constituents standing in mute protest outside their chamber doors. The courage of the thousands of participants in the Add the Words campaign has garnered local sympathy and national attention. The the eloquent faces of these human rights activists, the long silent lines of caring people of all ages, their mouths covered, their eyes dark with distress--this would move most people.

Oddly entrenched, Idaho Legislators are not moved.

For the eighth year in a row, Idaho Republicans refuse....

Continue reading on Stacy's blog "Hard to Watch" -- The Idaho Legislature and The Oscars.....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rally to Add the Words - Jan 11, 2014

Come show your support for equality in Idaho! 87% of Idahoans believe no one should be fired simply because they are straight or gay. If you agree then show your support for Add the Words. Attend the rally, contact your 3 state legislators (all Idahoans have two Representatives and one Senator), and tell your friends why you know you are on the right side of history. We simply want to Add the Words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Idaho's existing Human Rights Act. As former Republican Governor of Idaho and former head of the Idaho Republican Party Phil Batt recently said, it is past time to Add the Words to the Act he helped create. For years the Idaho legislature has silenced us and our requests for a hearing - this year let's convince them to hear our voices and simply Add the Words!

Join us January 11, 2014 at 1p at the Add the Words, Idaho rally on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol. Speakers include 94.9 The River's Ken Bass and his wife Michelle Holt Casella-Bass, Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb, Representative Grant Burgoyne, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest CEO Elaine Rose, Pocatello community leader Susie Matsuura, and Capital High Gay-Straight Alliance student leader Zach Bramwell. You'll also see great performances by Curtis Stigers and the Common Ground Community Chorus. After the rally get warm and socialize at the Boise Pride after party featuring Blaze and Kelly at Cazba in downtown Boise. Step out with us in support of equality for all! We look forward to seeing you at the rally!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Transgender…. Are You Uncomfortable Yet?

I started this post to ask you to join us at Boise’s Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013. As I thought about how to write about it, what I could say to get people to attend, I realized most people would just dismiss the day and the event as irrelevant to their lives. But it’s not irrelevant to you – it’s all about the type of world we want to live in. It really is an event you, yes YOU, need to attend.

I know, you’re busy. Maybe you’re uncomfortable around people who are different than society has taught us is normal. Maybe you aren’t sure what people will think of you if you go. Most people who attend will not be transgender themselves, we are there to show that we don’t think violence is the answer to feeling uncomfortable around others. Are you really ok with using violence against people in a misguided attempt to make them conform or to make the attackers more comfortable with themselves? Because that’s what this is about – remembering all the people who are beaten, raped, and even killed every year just because their gender identity makes people uncomfortable.

Take a few minutes from your evening on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 to head to the Anne Frank Memorial for Boise’s Transgender Day of Remembrance. The memorial starts at 7p – show that you don’t condone violence by joining us there.

Cindy Gross – Straight Ally and Equal Rights Supporter
GLADD: Transgender Day of Remembrance #TDOR - November 20
10 things every Lutheran should know about Transgender Day of Remembrance

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