We don't know how or why any members of the Idaho Republican Party intend to attempt to dismantle the anti-discrimination ordinances that have been legally passed in six Idaho cities. We do know that this was up for discussion when Idaho Republican leadership met earlier this month.
One of those ordinances was enacted six months ago in Boise, banning discrimination in employment, housing and services because of sexual orientation.
We also are perplexed about what interpretation of the Idaho Republican Party platform was being cherry-picked or ignored, because there are platform passages that seem to contradict the idea of usurping the will of local communities. From the preamble of the platform published on the party website there is this:
"We believe the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people and the sovereignty of the state must be protected. That government is best that governs least."
You can't get much more "closest to the people" than the local level.
The platform goes on to suggest that the state will vigorously attempt to fight federal mandates it doesn't like. So, if we extrapolate, do Idaho Republicans really want to go in the other direction and meddle in local affairs and attempt to mandate which ordinances can be enforced?
State officials have the duty to make sure one city's ordinances don't trample on the rights of others in the equation. Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, is correct to consider whether an ordinance meant to protect employment and housing rights without regard to sexual orientations somehow conflicts with any laws protecting religious observance - though we have yet to hear of such a conflict.
Both Bedke and Gov. Butch Otter have been wise to remind their party about interfering with local government. We caution both political parties that the people are watching when long arms overreach. Neither we nor voters will defend such actions.
There is a cyclical trend in politics for political parties to attempt to punish or somehow "purify" dissent of members or communities who think for themselves. It is as evident in the Democrat-controlled California Statehouse as it is in the Republican-controlled Idaho Legislature.
It is fair game to criticize and question the stands taken by our elected officials. But let us never forget that voters have the final say. It is a good thing when government is exercised "closest to the people." Let's stay out of the way.
"Our View" is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman's editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email firstname.lastname@example.org.