It’s hard to imagine living in a world of intolerence, where jobs and housing only go to straight, white people and individuals are bullied because of whom they choose
In many examples throughout history, minorities have been oppressed by the majority, while the laws that govern allow the behavior to continue.
The most recent example of this in American history, is the events which took place in the South. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, de jure and de facto segregation kept African Americans from sitting at the same lunch counter or drinking from the same water fountain as white people. De jure refers to laws set by the local or national government, while de facto segregation refers more to common practices by people.
This type of segregation has gone away though, right? Wrong.
Many gay and transgender Idahoans are denied basic human rights, which many take for granted. These individuals experience discrimination with employment, housing, education, business and public service.
This is appalling, as a community Boise State students shouldn’t tolerate this injustice.
“A lot of my friends have been affected by it (discrimination),” said Amber Stiles, a sophomore at Boise State studying entrepreneurial management. “One of my friends actually lost his job because of it.”
Unfortunately, some cases are even more severe.
In a recent sentencing of participants involved with the Add the Words protests in February, two mothers took the witness stand. Both of their children were gay, both were bullied and both took their own lives.
Julie Zicha, mother of one of these children, also helps run a nonprofit organization devoted to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
“Every moment we wait we risk losing more kids,” she said.
According to Zicha, who lost her son when he was 19, these crimes stem from hatred and intolerance.
For now, gay and transgender marriage is still banned in Idaho pending an appeal by the state, which will take place in September. On May 13, the ban was overturned but the ruling held due to a request to hold the ruling until an appeal could be made by both Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.
“I think it’s critical to take an orderly approach to this case and avoid the confusion that has occurred in other states,” Wasden said in a USA Today article May 20. “Now I can focus fully on my responsibility and obligation of defending the choice Idaho voters made to define marriage eight years ago.”
Same-sex marriage may be prohibited in Idaho but these individuals are still human. They should be afforded the same rights and protections as everyone else; the quickest way to do this is by helping to Add the Words.