Concordia to Host Boise Interfaith and LGBTQ Summit 

Former Idaho Sen. Nicole LeFavour, part of the Add the Words campaign, has pushed for adding "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to Idaho's human rights law for years.

Harrison Berry

Former Idaho Sen. Nicole LeFavour, part of the Add the Words campaign, has pushed for adding "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to Idaho's human rights law for years.

On Feb. 20, Idaho Sen. Pro Tem Brent Hill sent an op-ed to the media saying legislation addressing the problem of anti-LGBTQ discrimination would not be introduced at the Idaho Statehouse this year.

"Unwillingness by the LGBT community to address religious concerns will result in continued inaction by the legislature," he wrote. "If religious freedom advocates ignore the problem, families and business owners will face growing threats to their rights to practice sincerely held religious beliefs in all aspects of their lives. Ultimately, we will all abdicate our rights to the whims of the courts—rulings of which are no longer predictable for either side."

Hill called for a broader conversation about LGBTQ and religious issues, and a piece of that conversation will take place at Concordia Law School on Friday, Feb. 22: the Interfaith & LGBT Summit. Between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., attendees will have access to a trio of panels aimed at sniffing out discrimination, building policy and balancing values.

"Religious and LGBT Discrimination in Our Society: How Best to Root it Out" will feature Concordia Law School's McKay Cunningham, Hill himself, Howard Belodoff of Idaho Legal Aid, Kathy Griesmyer of ACLU-Idaho, Eric Baxter of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and Idaho Human Rights Commission Lead Deputy Attorney Doug Werth. That panel starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 11:45 a.m.

Two other panels, "The Process of Crafting Policy to Serve the Faith & LGBT Communities" and "Community Voices: How to Preserve Core Values While Respecting Others," feature key stakeholders discussing some of the most divisive issues underpinning Idaho's LGBTQ discrimination/religious freedom debate.

For 14 years, advocates have lobbied the Idaho Legislature to add "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the state's human rights law. Those efforts have been snubbed by lawmakers, but in 2015, a historic bill surfaced in committee, only to be voted down after days of testimony.

The Interfaith & LGBT Summit event is free to attend, but online registration is required. 
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