'Add the Words' Statehouse Panelists Continue Anti-Discrimination Conversation

"When you don't add these words, you create an unprotected class."

| February 06, 2013
Boise Democratic Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb
- Morgan Barnhart
Boise Democratic Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb
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Boise Democratic Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb and Boise Democratic Rep. Grant Burgoyne today hosted a panel discussion in the Senate auditorium of the Idaho State Capitol, meant to provide information regarding the addition of the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the state's Human Rights Act.

An hourlong discussion began at noon, and though no questions were taken from the audience, moderator Dr. David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy, helped the panel focus on two major areas: faith and business.

Maryanne Jordan, Boise City Council president, and John Reuter, former Sandpoint City Council president, spoke from experience—both their city governments passed similar antidiscrimination laws.

"When you don't add these words, you create an unprotected class," said Jordan.

Panelists also included Pam Parks, executive director of the Idaho Commission on Human Rights, the Rev. Marci Glass of Southminster Presbyterian Church, Kevin Settles, owner of Bardenay restaurants, and Clark Krause, Boise Valley Economic Partnership director.

After the panel concluded, audience members began to stream out of the room, as those taking part in a hearing on Idaho's nuclear industries filtered into the room.

When asked if she expected to see more of her Republican colleagues in the crowd, Buckner-Webb said that while she understood there may have been other priorities, she would have liked to have seen more lawmakers in the audience, without saying the words "Republican" or "Democrat."

"I would say I would have very much liked to have had them here," said Buckner-Webb. "Now I see some trying to walk in the door, which kind of cracks me up, ill-timed, but you know, I would have liked to have had them here. You know, we're also streaming it, so there's always the opportunity that maybe they'll hear it in another way."

Previously, Burgoyne and Buckner-Webb said they planned to have conversations with their colleagues individually.

"We've been doing that for a period of time," she said. "And again, its that intimate one-on-one conversational thing, it's not trying to shove something down somebody's throat, but rather to have a conversation and show maybe a different view, raise awarness, and show maybe a way at looking at the issue that they may not have before. I think that for a period of time it was such an emotional response, and now as you heard from the panel, they spoke to the issue from many many different perspectives."

Another reporter asked Buckner-Webb if she felt speakers were "preaching to the choir" with the day's discussion.

"It's kind of the and/both, not either/or, but and/both." she said. "Perhaps. And yet, the choir can learn new nuances; they continue to have their conversations with folks who share their view of the world."

Boise Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb helped lead a discussion panel on the topic of an amendment to Idaho's Human Rights Act.
Boise Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb helped lead a discussion panel on the topic of an amendment to Idaho's Human Rights Act.
- Morgan Barnhart

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Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

I listened from Moscow and was impressed with the well-reasoned, insightful discussion. Definitely a smart, civilized way to convey the rational facts that support a posituve pathway to fairness, inclusiveness & economic win-win for Idaho. Many of us are painfully aware of how narrow-minded our state is perceived to be. We should be doing all we can to banish that reputation from this beautiful place. One can only hope that a majority of our legislators can finally be persuaded to vote in favor of moving Idaho forward socially & economically!

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Posted by Rebeccar on 02/06/2013 at 6:12 PM

Idahomophobes (RepubliClowns) will never agree to amending the Act. They're all for equal rights, but they think some folks are more equal than others.

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Posted by Mark Middleton on 02/06/2013 at 8:04 PM

As a gay man in my mid-20s originally from California, I am blown away that this is still an issue in Idaho. Actually quite pathetic...

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Posted by Nick Crabbs on 02/06/2013 at 9:32 PM
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