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BOISE – Today Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill published an open letter addressing his reasons for continuing to deny LGBTQ Idahoans the same protections from discrimination provided to others under state law - the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Mistie Tolman, Idaho State Director, PPVNH, issued the following response:

“Thank you to Senator Hill for acknowledging ‘discrimination against LGBT persons is a genuine problem.’ For over a decade, Planned Parenthood, faith leaders, and many other community leaders have advocated Idaho join other states in protecting LGBTQ Idahoans from discrimination.

We are grateful for the legislators who have listened and worked with us, like Senator Hill. We believe we and Senator Hill share an ultimate goal - to treat all Idahoans with dignity, respect, and fairness under the law. We’ve worked hard with legislators to find common sense solutions to pervasive discrimination against our LGBTQ family members, friends and co-workers.

Unfortunately, Senator Hill indicates that some ‘people need more time.’ So another year will go by while LGBTQ Idahoans face another 12 months of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination at their jobs, in housing, as consumers, and while using public accommodations.

This delay is not, as Senator Hill suggests, the result of an ideological conflict with ‘religious freedom’ advocates. Freedom of religion is already guaranteed in the Idaho State Constitution and protected under the Idaho Human Rights Act.

The truth is that ‘some people’ do not believe every person deserves the freedom to live and work in their community without the fear of discrimination, regardless of who they are or who they love. In 2019, this should not still be up for debate. The Idaho legislature must provide the same non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people that are provided for everyone else, without delay or excuse.”