Republican leader Phil Batt joined a growing list of companies and individuals who support Idaho’s Add the Words fight. Former Governor Batt is a farmer, Army veteran, and past head of the Idaho Republican Party. As Governor of Idaho in the 1960s, Republican Batt spearheaded creation of the Idaho Human Rights Act. He believes Idahoans should support adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Act. Call or write your Idaho legislators to express your own support now.
As reported in the Idaho Statesman, when Batt accepted the Idaho Human Rights Lifetime Achievement award this week he said “A homosexual who can’t rent a room or get a job because of his orientation doesn’t make any sense to anybody.” He added “Why some of the politicians are not more sensitive than that — more sensible, I should say than that — beats me.” This fits with polls showing more than 87% of Idahoans believe it should be illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation. Many Idahoans believe this type of unfair discrimination is already illegal, but it’s not. In Idaho a person can be fired, evicted from housing or public accommodations, or denied schooling if their perceived sexual orientation doesn’t match one person’s preconceived notions.
Batt characterized lawmakers who refuse to hold a hearing about Add the Words as having “accomplished absolutely nothing…except to be made to look like fools.” For eight years Add the Words has requested that the legislature hear our voices – simply agree to listen to the many men and women throughout Idaho who have experienced or witnessed unfair behavior directed at those perceived to be gay. We have people from all walks of life and all parts of the state, straight and gay, ready to testify. They can’t silence us forever but every year they silence our voices is another year people suffer real, significant impairment of their constitutionally guaranteed individual liberties.Many people believe they’ve never met a gay person or someone who has been personally hurt by discrimination. Step in on the right side of history – call or write your Idaho legislators in support of Add the Words. Ask them to hold a hearing and listen to their constituents. Talk to your friends and neighbors about why you support equality and tell them your personal stories. Don’t let your voice be silenced – speak up!