Add the Words, Idaho (ATW) is a non-profit, all volunteer organization fighting for basic human rights in Idaho.
ATW works to amend the existing Idaho Human Rights Act (IHRA) to simply add the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity". The IHRA provides reporting and mediation services for workplace, housing, public accomodation, transportation, and education disputes.
Now that the courts have ruled in favor of marriage equality on constitutional grounds, amending the IHRA becomes even more important. When gay couples show up at work with their wedding rings they need to know they are valued and respected for the work they do without fear of being fired for something totally unrelated to their work.
The 2015 legislative session will be the 9th session we attempt to bring this type of equality to Idaho. Every legislative session we have been denied a hearing where we can share our powerful stories of discrimination and move closer to Adding the Words. This session we have the momentum of the entire state and the entire country with us. This year we want our legislators to listen and to Add the Words!
81% of Idahoans believe that NO ONE should be fired from their job because they are gay, straight, or transgender.
In past legislative sessions, Idahoans posted sticky notes on the Senate State Affairs Committee doors. We asked the Chairman to allow a public hearing on the proposal to print a bill to add the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Idaho's Human Rights Act (IRHA). The stickies were a powerful presence, like having voices from all over the state speaking from the committee room doors. Since then, the sticky notes have been banned from the statehouse - attempting to silence our voices.
In 2014 we collected hundreds of hand signed ribbons from people expressing their support and we had thousands attend rallies while legislators silently watched from the heights of the statehouse. Some legislators, those on the right side of history, came down to join the supporters. The rest ignored our voices and the largest statehouse gatherings in years, choosing to allow daily harm and discrimination over what is simply the right thing to do. They still won't even print a bill, won't hold a hearing to hear our testimony.
For too many years our lawmakers have denied us a hearing that would bring us one step closer to having a printed bill, to be heard in the House and Senate committees and chambers, and to pass this much needed amendment.
People from even the smallest of towns in Idaho believe our Legislature should grant a public hearing and pass the amendment to Add the Words! Contact your legislators now - ask them hear our voices and "Add the Words" to the Idaho Human Rights Act NOW!
"Add the Words movement supporters hope Otter follows through on his promise"
By Tammy Scardino, Channel 6/9
"Add the Words hopeful to get a hearing this session"
By Stephanie Zepelin, KTVB