When asked for a response to an “Add the 4 Words Idaho” protest on Jan. 9, Gov. Butch Otter said, “One of the options I asked folks to look at was what Utah did.”
Let’s talk about what Utah did. Simply put, the Utah compromise — passed in 2015 — bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and employment, with some exceptions.
I was living in Utah in early 2015. My husband and I sat in the galleries of the Utah Legislature as the bill passed. We attended the ceremony in which the governor signed the bill into law. We celebrated that a law which goes even that far could pass in deeply conservative Utah.
My feelings on the Utah compromise now, however, are mixed. I share the frustration that many feel about this law. It ignores the question of public accommodations. It also extends religious exemptions to church-owned businesses and charities. Many feel that it is wrong to ask LGBTQ people to compromise on their own human rights, and I agree.
Idaho isn’t Utah. Gov. Otter and the Legislature need work for an Idaho solution. That solution is, quite simply, to add the words.
Joshua Hayes-Fugal, Boise