GOP may target gay rights measures

North Idaho Republicans want to make city rules unenforceable

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COEUR d'ALENE - Cities' anti-discrimination laws aren't sitting well with the Republican Party.

Neither is daylight savings time, Common Core standards or Obamacare - or 27 other issues, for that matter.

So Saturday, the Idaho Republican Party Central Committee will consider two resolutions that call for the legislature to enact a law that would render any municipal anti-discrimination law unenforceable.

GOP central committees in Bonner County and Idaho County have submitted the nearly identical resolutions for state committee adoption.

Bonner County's reads:

" ... the Bonner County Republican Central Committee recommends that our legislators support Idaho's current anti-discrimination laws and policies, and enact a law that would make unenforceable any municipal ordinances that would seek to expand categories of prohibited discrimination beyond current state anti-discrimination laws and policies."

Idaho cities that have adopted such ordinances include Boise, Sandpoint, Ketchum, Moscow, Coeur d'Alene and Pocatello.

The state central committee will meet for its summer session in McCall today through Saturday. They will discuss a number of rule changes and 31 resolutions outlining the party's stance on a number of issues ranging from anti-discrimination to ending daylight savings time.

Bjorn Handeen, a Kootenai County state committeeman, sits on the state central committee's resolution committee. He said that committee will debate each of the resolutions and decide which to recommend for adoption by the state party.

"Still, I would imagine that anything we pass will have little to no effect anyway," he said, adding that passage of a resolution carries as much weight as making an official statement.

However, he said, if the anti-discrimination resolutions are passed the party will send a letter to the legislature requesting the legislation.

"We would find such a bill a real tragedy," said Tony Stewart, a member of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, which has been encouraging local governments to adopt anti-bias ordinances. "Our hope is that our legislature would not support such legislation."

Stewart said the task force believes that no citizen should be a second-class citizen, and that no American should be denied such vital services as a job or an apartment based on discrimination.

"This is a fundamental issue of democracy," Stewart said.

He believes passage of the resolution by the state party would be sending the wrong message to the rest of the country.

"It could even cause a boycott of conferences to the state," he said.

Handeen said he is not sure if the resolutions will pass the full committee or not, and even then he doubts the legislature would take any action in that area.

"We make a lot of effort at the grassroots level, but in the end we have very little impact," he said. "There are a lot of discouraged people who put in the effort on these issues, but we rarely see any results."

Handeen said 50 years from now when Chinese historians are researching why America allowed itself to fall and asking themselves why nobody did anything, he will have a clear conscience.

"They will see that in 2013, North Idaho actually did try to do something," he said.

Other resolutions to be considered include tax issues, reversing Common Core standards, ending the caucuses in lieu of primaries, protecting the second amendment, opposing the implementation of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and transferring federal lands to state ownership.

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