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!

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