Right-wingers, Lies & Videotape; Deconstructing Bryan Fischer

Jody May-Chang©
March 10, 2009 PrideDEPOT.com

On February 20, the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee turned its back on equality in a 2 to 5, voice vote by saying no to printing the Idaho Human Rights Act Amendment (IHRAA). They killed the bill in committee and silenced any opportunity for public debate on the proposed legislation. The forces of intolerance made certain that the bill would not get printed, distributed or entered into the public record just as if it never existed.

The IHRAA legislation would have added the “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the already protected classes of people such as race, religion, and national origin in areas of employment, education and public accommodation. The wording also included a religious exemption for legitimate churches and faith organizations that felt threatened if their religious beliefs were not inclusive of LGBT people in their memberships or employment.

Idaho Human Rights Act Amendment IHRAA Religious Exemption
Idaho Human Rights Act Amendment IHRAA Religious Exemption

When it came down to making a decision, the Senate State Affairs Committee listened mainly to the words of Bryan Fischer, executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, whose letter was delivered to the committee just before the hearing.

Before examining the letter in detail, it is important to examine the author’s background.

Who is Bryan Fischer and what is the Idaho Values Alliance?

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Nampa ID Recreation Center Denies Same-Sex Families

UPDATE: It is a great honor to have just learned this story was quoted from, and included in, the prestigious Williams Institute September 2009 Memorandum: “Idaho Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Documentation of Discrimination”

The Williams Institute advances sexual orientation law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public. A national think tank at UCLA Law, the Williams Institute produces high quality research with real-world relevance.

Jody May-Chang©
February 2, 2009 PrideDEPOT.com

What is a ‘Family’ and who gets to decide?

In late January a story broke in Idaho’s Treasure Valley about Amber Howard and Rachel Dovel, a lesbian couple raising Howard’s biological 4-year-old son, being denied a family membership at the Nampa Recreation Center; a facility owned and operated by the City of Nampa.

Amber Howard Rachel Dovel and son Logan denied a family membership at the Nampa Recreation Center in IdahoThe family was ultimately refused on the grounds that the women are not legally married. The couple claims they were told over the phone that they could acquire a family membership as long as they provided evidence of a domestic relationship.

Howard provided evidence that her partner’s employer recognized their relationship by including Howard on Dovel’s company’s health insurance plan. The city refused to consider the shared insurance coverage as proof of a relationship.

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