City Government

Gay Rights Ordinance Is Merely A “Political Statement”

PRELUDE–We oppose discrimination at all levels and believe in EQUAL RIGHTS AND PROTECTION for all. Singling out a specific group for protection and exempting specific groups from compliance would seem an exercise in social engineering at best.
Forgotten amidst the fanfare of the newly passed anti-discrimination ordinance passed by the Boise City Council is the EXCEPTIONS section.

While private employers and landlords face a $1,000 criminal fine for discriminating against gay people, the county, state, and federal governments, Scouts, and religions get a pass as shown in the excerpt of the ordinance:

This chapter does not apply to:
1. Religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies.
2. An expressive association whose employment of a person protected by this
chapter would significantly burden the association’s rights of expressive
association under Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000).
3. The United States government, any of its departments or agencies, or any
corporation wholly owned by it; or the state of Idaho or any of its departments,
agencies, or political subdivisions, except the City of Boise.

Here is the absurdity of the law. Tattooed people are not protected. Read on and share your comments.

Boise police for example can discriminate against tattooed coppers. The policy states that no more than one-third of the exposed skin on an arm can be tattooed. Discrimination? Certainly, but bending to the sensitivities of society, it is official policy. Look for the issue of tats to come up during union negotiations with firemen in the coming year as well.

Employers at restaurants, hospitals, etc. could theoretically have similar policies since older patrons may be offended by tattooed ladies (or men). It is also likely many landlords would have second thoughts about renting to someone who shows up with tats on their neck, face, and arms–regardless of their gender, credit rating or level of education.

Those with tattoos will likely relate they have been discriminated against. Does this mean we need a special law?

When it comes to tats, one would be hard pressed to find men or women under the age of thirty WITHOUT body ink these days.

Our point: discrimination is wrong regardless of the prejudice. Selective laws will never alter broad minds or small minds.


Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. On behalf of my son who is a professional piercer with many tats (and is the most intelligent and best son in the world), I thank you for your posting.

    Will this “special class of people” ordinance exempt employers and others with strong religious convictions who are members of excluded groups? Who will decide?

    To me, this ordinance is nothing more than window dressing. I remain concerned about the $1 million-plus judgment (and another cool mill for legal fees) against the city of Boise for discrimination against homeless women and children.

  2. OK, let’s be *truly* realistic here, shall we? I work for a company that has openly discriminated against people in its hiring practices, without any fear of retribution for doing so. Why? Because the average Idahoan does not fully understand the “Right To Work” laws. It’s taken for granted, in the industry that I work in that this is how things are done (or not done, as the case may be). Yes, there are employers who are not, not, NOT gonna hire people with tattoos, and guess what? THEY’LL GET AWAY WITH IT. There are also employers who still aren’t going to hire people who mainly speak a foreign language, who appear to be gay/trans/lesbian/etc., who are not white, who are disabled, or who aren’t in some intangible way exactly what the prospective employer wants. No, the ordinance isn’t really going to help all that much, but those of us who support the ideals of non-discrimination in Idaho, it’s a small reason to be a little happier about things.

  3. 3 or 4 years back, I went into a bike shop to look at a bicycle. The staff (also likely the owners) were covered with tattoos, and had the big jungle earlobe-things.

    It kinda creeped me out. I left, and never went back even though I sorta liked the bike, and they were the only dealer in town. (The shop has long been out of business; my patronage apparently wouldn’t have saved the operation.)

    (Now my son sports tattoos and piercings – the times, they are a’changin’. Remember when you could outrage the oldsters just by wearing your hair over your ears?)

    How about beards, Mr. Guardian? Can the cops have beards? I like a beard in the winter… am I potentially a victim of discrimination? (Folks in the generation just older than me often don’t like the facial hair.)

    Riddle me this… s’pose I have a little duplex that I rent out for a bit of extra income. And s’pose I have a strong religious belief in “thou shalt not commit adultery” – you know, that sex should be reserved for married couples. (Yeah, for lots of folks, those Ten Commandments are hopelessly old-fashioned.) Would I be in violation of the law if I tried to screen out prospective renters who seemed to not honor that same moral code (straight OR gay)? Seems to me, maybe private property owners should have the right to discriminate in such a manner, and if they lose clientele, so be it. (I say maybe, because I’m a little ambiguous. To me, it’s not a slam-dunk situation.)

    EDITOR NOTE–Believe it or not Bikeboy, the Councilors are on your side–sort of. The ordinance says you can discriminate against gays if you live in one side of the two family dwelling. It is ambiguous with regard to the hetero adultery in the same adjoining unit.

  4. Just a move to make those who voted for you feel better…or pay them back.

  5. So then Mr. Logical,
    You then support the use of sexual preference to obtain things that you want, and threaten or intimidate those who have things you want by use of the police? This does not seem logical to me, but who knows, I’m just a poor old dumb hetero white male, what sense could I possibly have?

    EDITOR NOTE–Ronin, it would appear he was making a point rather than advocating a position.

  6. I vote with my feet. If a shop owner or representative is all about making in your face visual and behavioral statements to declare themselves outside the mainstream, I spend elsewhere.

    PS: @BB the word “jungle” is considered racist these days even though it tends to be a bunch of pale underfed white kids with 3 whiskers who are doing it. And have you noticed all the pretend gays kids these days too? Probably an easy “A” grade from sympathetic or fearful teachers.

  7. to BG about other post, I suppose so,
    To those who are claiming sexual freedom with this law, you fail to see that the act of “fornication” is still illegal in this state. It is considered a sex crime punishable with no less than 300 dollar fine, up to six months jail, and oh yes you guessed it, sex offender registration. This law encompasses ALL premarital sex, consensual or not, of age or not, all those who commit this are technically breaking the law. So yes to Bike boy, anyone can be removed from their place of residence or employment due to criminal behavior.

  8. Grumpy ole guy
    Dec 6, 2012, 2:00 am

    Guardian, I like your point about ink on the skin. while I am WAY TOO OLD to forget that tattoos used to represent a tiny extreme minority and were considered by “polite society” as too outrageous to be tolerated, I will say that in my life I have come to admire some of these artistic displays. I am still bothered by facial tats, but that’s MY problem. No one forces me to comment upon such displays, no one should have a “right” to discriminate against such displays. I agree with the Guardian’s position that all discrimination is wrong, and go further in saying that the chief regulator of this is to first and foremost, recognize my own prejudice(s) and act to be above and beyond them. This extends to any and all, sexual, religious, political, piercings, tattoos, anything that I consider willful and self-imposed “disfigurement”. My problem, my duty to find a resolution which does not involve any penalty towards the so-called offender.

  9. Sorry I feel this way but I’ll walk out of a restaurant or a place of business when I see the employees covered in ink. Guess it makes me a racists. Just reminds me of prison or gang affiliations.

  10. Seems that the point of your article is that we should never pass laws against discrimination until we can make it complete enough to eliminate all discrimination? Unfortunately the exceptions had to be written in there to get it passed in the first place.

    Personally I didn’t think the law goes far enough in protecting LGBT rights, but it’s a major step in the right direction.

    Not sure what tattoo discrimination has to do with the issue, if you’re against tattoo discrimination then lobby to get laws passed to protect people with tattoos.

  11. “…Ordinance Is Merely A ‘Political Statement’”

    Well, duh!! Of course all ordinances, laws, regulations, etc. are “merely” political statements, i.e. they are statements of public policy.

  12. Only Tatoos? What about lifestyle discrimination in employment? Obese, smokers and adventure seekers all have the potential to cause employers more money.

  13. Rod in SE Boise
    Dec 6, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Does anyone think people with tattoos need protection against discrimination?

    The ordinance is about fairness and human rights. But, then, we live in in Idaho, and our two US Senators voted against human rights and rights for people with disabilities just the other day. I need to put a permanent yard sign out front to advertize what slimeballs Risch and Crapo are.

  14. Grumpy ole guy
    Dec 6, 2012, 4:49 pm

    Amen Rod, amen

  15. Slimeballs some’s it up!

  16. Yes, we need this special law to reinforce and add specificity to existing laws. The same way we need The Boise Guardian to reinforce and add specificity to local media. Sometimes, the default coverage just doesn’t go far enough.

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