DEC. 15 1993
Walton unfazed by loss in Colorado
A Colorado court decision against that
state's anti-gay Amendment 2 was "just
one little road bump" to supporters of a
similar measure in Idaho. But critics of
anti-gay legislation call the judge's ruling
Brian Bergquist of Idaho's "Don't Sign
On" campaign said the Colorado decision
should convince the Idaho Citizens Alliance
and its founder, Kelly Walton, to drop
their campaign to put an anti-gay initiative
before voters next year.
"If the Idaho Citizens Alliance goes forward,
what we're seeing happen in Colorado
will be repeated here almost exactly,"
Bergquist said. "It's not just the opinion of
an attorney general but the opinion of a
court that is on record saying it's unconstitutional."
But Walton said those legal opinions "focus
on the perceived effects - that this
would start a witch hunt for homosexuals
- rather than the actual wording of the
This is just one little road bump," he
said "We fully anticipated this, whether it
came in the form of a Denver judge, an
Idaho judge, or an Idaho attorney general.
They're trying every anti-family trick in
Proponents of Idaho's initiative- which
would prevent the state from granting civil
rights protections based on sexual orientation
- must obtain 32,061 signatures in
order to place the measure on the November
ballot. Alliance volunteers gathered
about half that number during the summer
state and local fair season.
Although Attorney General Larry EchoHawk
says he believes the proposition is
unconstitutional, state Rep. Al Lance of
Boise and state Sen. Stan Hawkins of
Ucon, both Republicans, have said they
intend to push legislation to impose a ban
on gay-rights laws during this winter's
Their declaration have raised fears in
some Republican leaders that the debate
over such a controversial issue will energize
the same bloc of voters that the
abortion debate in 1990 energized, leading
to one of the GOP's worst election defeats
Lance, who confirmed that he intends to
run for attorney general next year, said
his proposal would be more narrowly
drawn than the alliance's.
But Walton said that while he has not
seen any draft legislation the alliance
"would endorse anything that would put
all or part of our initiative into state law."
Walton has also been searching for an
attorney general candidate who would vigorously
defend the initiative should it pass
and be challenged in court. EchoHawk,
who is running for governor, has already
said it would be inappropriate for his office
to handle such a case because of its
opinions against the proposal. His top deputy
has estimated a court challenge could
cost taxpayers over $300,000.
The Democratic candidate for attorney
general, Michael Burkett, has opposed the
initiative as have most other political and
civic leaders. No other Republicans have
entered the race.
With his own cadre of lawyers supporting
the initiative's validity, Walton remained
confident it will become law if
adopted by voters, predicting the U.S. Supreme
Court will eventually uphold the
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