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.
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?