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Note: As of now, "sex" will no longer be blocked from ISJ's online comments (read more).

In Pocatello, Idaho, same-sex marriage is among a group of issues on just about everyone's mind these days. Recently the city's anti-discrimination ordinance was slated for a referendum vote in May. That was a hard-won ordinance. The ordinance was highly unpopular with many conservatives in the community including Mayor Brian Blad. At the request of a local Mormon church leader, counsel from the American Religious Freedom Program was flown into Pocatello last April 4, the day that the ordinance was scheduled for a vote in a city council meeting. As a result, the vote was postponed. When it did get voted on in June, it was passed. Not satisfied with the outcome, a reportedly deceptive petition was circulated to get the ordinance up for currently scheduled referendum. In recent weeks, one gay teenager, Maddie Beard, committed suicide after being mercilessly bullied by her peers at Pocatello High School, and a boy at Highland High School may have taken his life for being repeatedly taunted by others who perceived him as gay.

Yesterday I read a story in Pocatello, Idaho's local paper, the Idaho State Journal. The story is "Add the Words’ protests aren’t effective, Rep. Elaine Smith says". Basically, it's about how a local democratic (?) representative thinks that Add the Words should end its protests at the Idaho State capitol in Boise because some state legislators don't like them.

Add the Words is a group dedicated to having the Four Words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" added to Idaho's state Human Rights Act. It's that simple.

So, I wrote a response to the story. This is it verbatim:

The truth is that Add the Words protests are only too effective or this story wouldn't be running. The current fight against gay rights in Idaho is many pronged, and Add the Words is doing it the right way. But its fight is against more than exclusion from the state Human Rights Act, it is about Idaho's unconstitutional gay marriage ban and the proposed right-to-discriminate law like the one Jan Brewer just vetoed in Arizona.

Stories like Smith's seem to be calculated to make Add the Words protesters lose heart. But your protests are working and you are winning. Here's why. As Mokurai put it on Daily Kos, "Idaho is in the Ninth Circuit. We have two decisions in favor of Marriage Equality in Federal District Courts the Tenth Circuit (Utah and Oklahoma), one in the Fourth (Virginia), and one in the Fifth (Texas). All four decisions are stayed pending appeal to the Circuit Courts of Appeals. There are more than twenty lawsuits in state and Federal courts to overturn same-sex marriage bans, and many other suits seeking other marriage rights. The Right recognizes that it has lost this fight. This train has left the station. This ship has sailed."

Hang in there, and keep protesting. Whatever Smith says, it is just a matter of time and that time is going to come a lot faster than the opponents think.

Why is Smith acting as a mouthpiece for the opponents of freedom?

I got this response:
Your comment cannot be accepted due to the presence of profanity. Please remove any objectionable content from your comment and try again.
Can anyone tell me what is profane or objectionable in the content of my message? How many other comments to this and other stories are being banned?

Later I wrote the online editor and offered to delete a blog I wrote about being censored, if I could get the comments posted.

Last night a friend who read the blog wrote to let me know it was blocked because the newspaper's filter caught the word "sex" in the posting. This morning I reposted my message like this, and it appears to have made it through the filter:

"The truth is that Add the Words protests are only too effective or this story wouldn't be running. The current fight against gay rights in Idaho is many pronged, and Add the Words is doing it the right way. But its fight is against more than exclusion from the state Human Rights Act, it is about Idaho's unconstitutional gay marriage ban and the proposed right-to-discriminate law like the one Jan Brewer just vetoed in Arizona.

Stories like Smith's seem to be calculated to make Add the Words protesters lose heart. But your protests are working and you are winning. Here's why. As Mokurai put it on Daily Kos, "Idaho is in the Ninth Circuit. We have two decisions in favor of Marriage Equality in Federal District Courts the Tenth Circuit (Utah and Oklahoma), one in the Fourth (Virginia), and one in the Fifth (Texas). All four decisions are stayed pending appeal to the Circuit Courts of Appeals. There are more than twenty lawsuits in state and Federal courts to overturn same-s*x marriage bans, and many other suits seeking other marriage rights. The Right recognizes that it has lost this fight. This train has left the station. This ship has sailed."

Hang in there, and keep protesting. Whatever Smith says, it is just a matter of time and that time is going to come a lot faster than the opponents think."

This was rejected before because the word s*x was in the posting. So same-s*x marriage is automatically filtered from comments to the paper. I think you should change that. A few weeks ago I tried to post about another story. I used the word d*mn. That was banned. But in a posting already up about the same story, the poster called Add the Words protesters perverts (their words, not mine, and sorry for any unintentional offense this causes anyone). Why is s*x, the way we got into this world, banned from postings while hateful language was okay until I complained and it was removed after being up for several days? Please change this policy.

My apologies to ISJ for accusing it of censorship. Please change your policy, sex is not an offensive term and I don't think you should be blocking reference to same-sex marriage when this is currently on the minds of so many people in the community.

The AP reported that some of the Add the Words protesters arrested this past Thursday at the state capitol in Boise were holding photos of Maddie Beard. In February, a total of 122 Add the Words protesters were arrested in Boise.  

7:29 AM PT: Previously in my block quote about the comment on ISJ's website, I wrote "All four decisions [in Idaho concerning couples challenging the ban on gay marriage] are stayed pending appeal to the Circuit Courts of Appeals." That is incorrect. The four pending decisions in four states other than Idaho are what are currently stayed in three other Circuit courts other than the Ninth. I've removed the erroneous bracketed language here, and it is also corrected on ISJ's website (thanks to Mokurai for pointing this out to me).


Originally posted to esessis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:59 AM PST.

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