clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

GROUP REVIVES ANTI-GAY PLAN DESPITE VOTE

Barely five months after voters narrowly rejected its anti-gay proposal, the Idaho Citizens Alliance is about to launch two new initiative campaigns.

But opponents contend Idahoans already have voted against prejudice.Alliance chairman Kelly Walton said last week his group will introduce a "school choice" initiative this month and a new anti-gay- rights measure - similar to last year's Proposition One - in May.

The Heyburn-based alliance hopes to place both on the November 1996 ballot. Walton said the wording is being ironed out but indicated the concepts will be simple.

The school choice measure would seek tax dollars for private schools.

"Basically, we're going after a $1,000-per-child tax credit for non-government schools," Walton said.

As for the reworked anti-gay rights measure: "It'll be shorter and more to the point," Walton said. "There will be some subjects that were in Proposition One that are not in the new one."

Proposition One would have barred the state from granting minority status to gays and lesbians. It restated Idaho's ban on homosexual marriages and provided statewide guidelines for how schools, libraries and government agencies would address sexual orientation.

Opponents claimed the initiative attacked the civil rights of Idaho's homosexuals and lesbians.

The new initiative will omit language dealing with the employment of homosexuals in gov-ern-ment, Walton said, but regulations restricting how libraries can handle material addressing homosexuality likely will remain.

The alliance chief, who predicted victory for Proposition One and then watched it lose by just 3,000 votes, is not guaranteeing success this time. But he said alliance opponents will have a tough time stopping the new effort.

"It's going to take twice the energy and twice the money . . . to beat us next time," he said.

In 1994, Proposition One opponents spent $562,740 and the alliance $192,778. Win or lose, critics say the new initiatives will waste time and money.

Jill Kuraitis, a leading Proposition One opponent, called the latest efforts "not only frivolous but outrageous."

"The people spoke once. What kind of proof does this guy need that discrimination is unwanted here?" she said.

The school choice initiative will not get any help from the Idaho Education Association, teachers union executive director Jim Shac-kel-ford said.

"We would oppose it vigorously," he said. "Any effort to dilute the already inadequate fund-ing provided for public schools does not bode well for the educational future of our students."