Pictured: Hope Wisneski and State Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb at the event hosted by Boise State University Young Democrats
This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to work with advocates fighting to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act. The work session attracted participants from local, statewide and regional organizations including Interfaith Alliance, ACLU of Idaho, Pride Foundation, Idaho Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood and several elected officials and community leaders. The half-day session focused on building coalition membership and creating a messaging framework. The day was kicked off by State Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb, who has co-sponsored the bill for the past three years. She called on her peers to make 2015 the year to "take affirmative action to add the words gender identity and sexual orientation to the Human Rights Act to ensure fairness and equality." Senator Buckner-Webb is the first elected African-American state legislator and is the minority caucus chair. Representative Grant Burgoyne, who sponsored the non-discrimination bill in the House, and five other elected officials were at the event as well.
HRC will be supporting upcoming municipal non-discrimination efforts in Idaho, like we recently did in Pocatello. We will join with local organizations and advocates to continue to build momentum toward an LGBT-inclusive statewide law. Where states and the federal government have failed to act, municipalities have stepped up. HRC’s Municipal Equality Index demonstrates the ways that many cities can – and do – serve the LGBT people who live and work in those cities. To find out more about what cities around the country are doing to support their LGBT residents and visitors, check out HRC's Municipal Equality Index.