Patricia Nell Warren

Good news from Idaho

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | December 20, 2007 3:34 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: domestic partner benefits, Idaho, LGBT insurance

A lesbian friend of mine just sent me a news item from one of the most generally ultraconservative states in the union. The city of Moscow, Idaho (population 22,239 ) has just voted for a new insurance plan for city employees… which contains an option for any that are LGBT. “This,” my friend said, “is why I loved living in Moscow.” Recently she had moved from there back to Boise.

I grew up next door to Idaho, in Montana, and have spent quite a bit of time in the Gem State. The great beauty of its mountains, wild rivers and rich agriculture lands weighs in the balance with the state's political conservatism. Idaho is not just red, it's crimson...or scarlet. Except for little pockets of liberality here and there, like Moscow, popular ideology is pretty much divided down the middle, with Christian conservatives on one side and Mormons on the other. Some years ago, when I was grand marshal of Boise Pride, the festival was picketed by the local Christian Coalition chapter, a couple dozen glowering guys in dark suits and ties, with their bibles.

The state's fundies are already wrathfully loading their muskets over this one. The Idaho Values Alliance threatens to take the city to court. They point to Idaho’s man-and-a-woman-only constitutional amendment. The Moscow city attorney retorts that the city is merely adding an option to an insurance plan, not actually creating domestic partnerships. So, he says, the lawsuit will be without merit.

The story points out:

With a population under 25,000 Moscow is one of the smallest cities in the country to approve domestic partner benefits.

The city’s liberality is partly accounted for by the fact that the University of Idaho is located there.

It’s heartening to see such a display of guts by the Moscow city council, in a time when so many American politicians are making us all sick to our stomachs with their lack of courage. Let’s hope the city can keep their powder dry as the church lobby swarms all over them. And let’s hope that there is no outbreak of overt ugliness over this against the embattled but gritty LGBT community in that state.

This year, good news is the best kind of holiday gift I'd wish for.


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I lived in Bloomington, indiana when they passed their HRO that included sexual orientation (it now covers gender identity too). That was 92 or 93, I believe.

As of the 2000 census, they have a population of almost 70,000. According to Wikipedia, about 40,000 of those are students that leave every summer.

They were the 1st city in the state to be inclusive.