In any other state, North Idaho Republican politico Cornel Rasor would need some fancy footwork to dance out from under a remark he made to Spokesman-Review reporter Betsy Z. Russell. Rasor, chairman of the resolutions committee of the Idaho GOP, told Russell that he would “hire a gay guy if I thought he was a good worker. But if he comes to work in a tutu … he’s not producing what I want in my office.”
The former Bonner County commissioner, whose establishment of a property rights council made news in 2011, spoke to Russell following the Idaho Republican Party State Central Committee meeting, which took place in McCall on Saturday, June 15.
During the meeting, Rasor brought forth a resolution that would have directed lawmakers to pass a measure invalidating any local anti-discrimination ordinances that go beyond current state statute—meaning, erasing protections for gender identity and sexual orientation. Rasor’s resolution was rolled into a similar proposal touted by the GOP central committee of Idaho County, and approved by state central committee members.
So far, six cities in Idaho have enacted some form of ordinance that bars discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation or both: Boise, Ketchum, Moscow, Coeur d’Alene and Pocatello. Sandpoint, where Rasor has long operated the local army surplus store, was the first municipality in the state to approve such an ordinance.
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter came out against the resolution to undo municipal anti-discrimination ordinances, saying, according to the Spokesman-Review, “I really think that the overriding value of local folks making local decisions about local policies is much more valuable than us directing folks from Boise.”
Rasor’s “gay guy in a tutu” comment has since gone viral, being picked up by Salon, The Raw Story and UPI. The remark prompted the Tuscon Weekly to speculate: “Idaho Republican Appears to Have Never Met a Gay Man.”