Bryan Fischer
Gay rights suffers well-deserved defeat in Idaho
By Bryan Fischer
February 21, 2009

The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee declined this morning even to print Sen. Nicole LeFavour's latest bill to provide special workplace protections based on non-normative sexual orientations.

It failed on a voice vote, with only Republican Joe Stegner and Democrat Kate Kelly in support. Two other Republican lawmakers, Sen. Chuck Coiner of Twin Falls and Sen. Tim Corder of Mountain Home, signed on as co-sponsors of this exceedingly dangerous bill.

This bill — as the following segment will illustrate in full — would have represented a grave threat to constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of association, conscience, speech and religion. If passed, it easily could be used to put the Boy Scouts out of business in Idaho along with every other value-driven enterprise.

It would have spawned a host of lawsuits, including potential lawsuits against any municipality, public concern or private business that would not allow a transgendered individual to use the bathroom or locker room of his choice.

The rest of the panel — Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian), Bob Geddes (R-Soda Springs), Denton Darrington (R-Declo) and Monty Pearce (R-New Plymouth) — all voiced votes against printing the bill. Committee chairman Curt McKenzie (R-Nampa) is also opposed to it.

Sen. LeFavour complained in her remarks that this is a subject we don't talk about enough, and that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders feel marginalized and live in fear in Idaho.

But where is the evidence that Idaho is so hateful toward gays? Here we have an openly lesbian lawmaker — who campaigned as an open lesbian and continues to win re-election by huge margins — who can publicly appeal to one of the most powerful committees in the Idaho legislature without fear of reprisal and have her remarks published statewide by a fawning press. I don't see any homophobic discrimination here, do you?

Her arguments were heard in full — she was allowed to talk for as long as she wished — and were rejected.

Sen. LeFavour must accept the fact that the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances is not the same as the right to get what you want. She was given an opportunity to make her case without rebuttal (no testimony is taken at print hearings) and yet still could only persuade two lawmakers to go along with her radical proposal. This is how decisions are made in a democratic republic.


A fundamental reason to oppose sexual orientation and gender identity laws is the rather severe danger they pose to fundamental human and civil rights, including freedoms of association, conscience, speech and religion.

Here are just a few examples, cited in an Idaho Values Alliance letter delivered prior to the print hearing to every member of the Senate State Affairs Committee.

  • Catholic Charities of Boston ended its work of finding homes for hard-to-place adoptive children because Massachusetts' "sexual orientation" law required them to place children in homosexual households

  • The Cradle of Liberty Boy Scouts of Philadelphia were evicted from a building they had occupied since 1928 because the organization refuses to allow homosexuals to serve as Scoutmasters, even though the Supreme Court has upheld the Scouts' constitutional right to do so

  • Elaine Huegenin, a wedding photographer in New Mexico, was fined $6,700 for politely declining to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony, even though lesbian unions have no legal status in the state

  • The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association was ruled guilty just last month of violating the state's discrimination law for declining to rent space to a lesbian couple for a civil union ceremony

  • An Appleton, Wisconsin nightclub has been sued for sexual orientation discrimination for refusing to admit a transgendered man because he insisted on using the bathroom of his choice. The man is biologically male but dresses as a woman.

  • Tim Bono of Arlington, Virginia was ordered to make copies of films advocating the homosexual agenda or else pay for someone else to do so

  • Starfish Creative Invitations, a Seattle printer, was required to apologize for refusing to print "wedding" invitations for two homosexuals and was required to pledge that he would never again make such a refusal

  • The Ann Arbor City Council banned employee payroll deduction donations to the United Way because the United Way supports local Boy Scout troops

  • In Chicago, county officials have barred the Salvation Army from bidding on contracts to serve the poor because the Salvation Army does not allow homosexuals to serve as clergy

  • An Anglican bishop in England was fined almost $100,000 for refusing to hire a homosexual to be his youth pastor and was ordered to seek counseling to remediate his homophobia

  • A Canadian newspaper, the Sasketoon Star-Phoenix, was ordered to pay three homosexual men $1,500 each after running an ad that contained Bible verses which criticize homosexual behavior

  • A Canadian printer, Scott Brockie, was fined $5,000 and ordered to print stationary for a homosexual rights organization

Sen. LeFavour's attempt to foster religious discrimination under cover of the homosexual rights agenda is losing steam. Last year, she had the official support of the Idaho Human Rights Commission; this year, she did not. Last year, she at least was able to get her bill printed; this year she did not. Let's hope, for the sake of Idaho, that her efforts continue to lose momentum.

© Bryan Fischer


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