Grassroots effort to add words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Idaho human rights laws
Things are about to get sticky at the Idaho Statehouse.
A group of Idaho residents want to see the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" added to the state's laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and education.
They call their campaign "Add the Words, Idaho" and they're using sticky notes to make their point.
So far for this year's legislative session, Add the Words volunteers say they have collected hundreds of sticky notes to lawmakers from more than 50 different Idaho towns. Add the Words volunteers will begin placing sticky notes on the doors of the House and Senate chambers today, as the 2012 legislative session begins.
Last year, nearly 100 sticky notes were put up on the Senate State Affairs committee doors requesting a hearing on S1033 which would have added the words to Idaho's human rights laws.
"Last year, the sticky notes proved to be a powerful presence, giving people from all across the state a way to express the need for such legislation. This year, lawmakers have more voices from their own districts to hear from and more reasons to consider finally passing the legislation," said Mistie Tolman, spokesperson for Add The Words, Idaho. "Too many people now have gay friends, family and co-workers. Too many people care. Our legislature simply can't stay silent and let discrimination happen any more."
A similar bill will be submitted this year, with bipartisan co-sponsorship. The public is being asked to write messages on sticky notes requesting passage of the legislation, and they are being encouraged to post their messages in the statehouse.
Those outside Boise have been asked to text or email 20 word messages or upload photos of their sticky note messages to their facebook walls, or send them in envelopes to their legislators and to Add the Words. Messages are supposed to include the writers name, their town and some brief background on the author of the sticky note.
Last session, security personnel took down the notes that were posted in the statehouse, but each morning new notes were posted by volunteers.
Add the Words, Idaho is an all volunteer organization of people across Idaho working to demonstrate the level of public support for inclusion of gay and transgender Idahoans in the state's laws banning discrimination in employment, housing education and public accommodation. Add the Words is working with organizations and individuals in more than 12 towns to hold public candlelight vigils, rallies and events on Saturday January 28th in support of passage of legislation to add the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Idaho's Human Rights Act.