Listen to Lincoln

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Lincoln’s death mask peers out from its case at Add-the-Words demonstrators lining the halls of the Idaho Statehouse. They hold portraits of a young Idahoan who, bullied for his sexual orientation, took his own life. [This image may be copied and reprinted as a 20″x 30″ poster to a 4″x 6″ postcard. Photo by Nicole LaFavour]

I’m delivering 106 postcards with this image to the Idaho Statehouse today, one to each legislator and one to the president of the senate, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, likely our next governor—as soon as the present occupant gets tarred & feathered and run out of town on a rail (or sees the writing on the wall and retires). On the back, I’ve asked, “What would Lincoln do?” Republicans like to claim Abe as the father of their party, but few show his political courage.

After hearing hours of testimony from hundreds of witnesses documenting many instances of discrimination in Idaho based on gender identity and sexual orientation, Republican leaders decided by default to allow it to continue. They appear to be trying to craft a “religious” exemption.

It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. Would the religious exemption apply only to discrimination claimed because of sexual orientation or gender identity? How about a neo-Nazi who refuses on the basis of her “Christian” belief to serve a Jew or black person at her Aryan-only lunch counter?

It is dereliction of duty for the legislature to adjourn for the year, knowingly allowing this defect in our law to continue. If they can support gender-identity and sexual-orientation discrimination for another year, who know how much longer it’ll be allowed to fester. Perhaps a clean voter initiative would be better than some convoluted dodge based on personal belief.