For those of you who live in Boise, and are tired of the continual efforts to have the government tell consenting adults what they are allowed to do: The first vote on whether to expand Idaho's law that bans discrimination in employment, housing, education & public accommodation to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" will be February 10, at 8:00 AM in the Senate State Affairs Committee Hearing Room, off 8th St in the West underground wing of the State Capitol. (See below: not a public comment session.)
There are very few jobs where I really think it is appropriate or sensible to discriminate based on sexual orientation--but there are a few where I can see an employer having some misgivings. If an employer is uncomfortable with homosexuality (or heterosexuality, for that matter), and especially so in a small company, requiring an employer to hire is going to create tension and problems. Many employers, landlords, and businesses have very sincere religious objections to homosexuality, as they do to extramarital sex, or even to homophobic state legislators! The government can't be everyone's nanny, and I resent homosexual activists and their insistence that everyone needs to be told what to do, when, and with whom.
Adding gender identity to this just aggravates the idiocy. Sorry, but I do not want a crossdressing guy or gal working in daycare, or around elementary or junior high kids, and my guess is that even in the North End of Boise (rich Idahoans who want to be trendy, but can't quite afford to move to the Bay Area), this would be a pretty widely shared view. And I can see why employers might be reluctant to have the freak show of the day be their customer-facing support. But that will not be an option if this bill passes.
The analogy that the activists will draw is to race, or national origin. Sorry, but the analogy fails. I have never met a person who had a genuine religious objection to doing business with someone based on race or national origin. Christianity utterly rejects such a notion (although you can find a few kooks, few of whom run businesses, I'm betting, who construct bizarre pseudo-Christian beliefs to justify their racism); Judaism rejects it; Islam rejects it. I do not know for sure about the other common religions of the world, but they aren't exactly a dominant economic force here in Idaho.
The biggest problem of all is that this extension of the law will lead to all sorts of really absurd lawsuits, where the "injured party" was fired for incompetence, or inappropriate behavior, or stealing from the till, but being a member of an approved victim group means that there will be a pile of legal paperwork to prove that Mr. X was fired for a legal reason. I have seen way too much of this over the years--with legitimate discrimination claims overwhelmed by scammers trying to take advantage of their group identity.
And the "gender identity" stuff is a shyster's dream come true. Most companies have dress codes. To be blunt about it, there are plenty of crossdressers out there who are obviously crossdressing. They may think they are fooling someone, but I suspect that they are only fooling themselves. I rather doubt many employers are going to tolerate what are transparently guys in dresses working the front desk, or gals engaging in the insulting blue collar male stereotyping that I used to see in California. And you know that this is going to lead to lawsuits that will destroy small companies.
UPDATE: This turns out to be not a public comment session.