Add the Words activists look to extend reach

March 22, 2014 

The group leading efforts to amend the Idaho Human Rights Act to protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people is taking its Add the Words campaign on the road.

Volunteers with Add the Four Words Idaho will hold a training session Sunday in Moscow with another one in McCall in the planning stages. The sessions will focus on how local leaders can best communicate their message to local lawmakers and to revive hope among gay and transgender people in their towns.

Residents of Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls have also asked for training, organizers said.

"By leaving town without so much as holding public hearing, Idaho lawmakers said to us that gay and transgender people's lives are not valued. They said we don't matter," organizer Emily Oliver Shannon, 31, said in a written release. "They are out of touch and have no idea how many Idaho Republican and LDS families find this issue important because it affects them every day."

The Legislature adjourned Thursday. For the ninth year in a row, lawmakers refused to hold a public hearing or otherwise consider adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

"I will go wherever I am needed so that local people can learn how to peacefully, silently, respectfully and effectively let their lawmakers know that their inaction this session was unacceptable," member Joe Kibbe said.

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