Biz Group Jumps In On Gay Marriage 

ACLU Leader: gay marriage bans tend to pass

A national leader of the ACLU says that anti-gay marriage amendments like the one Idahoans will vote on this November, have a strong record of passing. In the last eight years, 20 such amendments have been passed successfully, and eight more, including Idaho's, are on the ballot this year, said Matthew Coles, a spokesman for the ACLU who works in the group's headquarters in Washington, D.C. The measure on Idaho's ballot this year is proposed as an amendment to the Idaho Constitution, created by the Idaho Legislature, which voted to put the matter on Idaho's ballot. If passed, the measure--known as HJR2--would make illegal any form of domestic union that is not a marriage between one man and one woman. All forms of civil unions, including unofficial heterosexual couplings, would be illegitimate under Idaho code if the measure passes.

"All of the ones that have gotten on the ballot have been passed," Coles said.

With election day barely a month away, opponents are scrambling to raise awareness of the measure's impact, said Jack Van Valkenburgh, director of the Idaho ACLU.

"It's a race against time, and the proponents know that," Van Valkenburgh said.

Into that race now comes the Idaho Inclusiveness Coalition, a group of businesses that support diversity in their hiring and other corporate practices.

"We could not stand idly by without taking a stand on this amendment," said Michael Byron, president of the Idaho Inclusiveness Coalition, in a prepared statement. "As an organization, we are charged with developing and implementing strategies for creating inclusive communities in Idaho. And as businesspeople, we are concerned about the effect passage of HJR2 would likely have on the business climate of our state. Opposing this amendment is the only logical choice for us."

Byron's group includes Hewlett-Packard, Micron, Boise State University, and more than 30 other Treasure Valley businesses.

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