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Jim Crow goes gay in Idaho

How can you convince people in the bright red state of Idaho to vote against an amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships? Give them an American history lesson, says a new group of gay and lesbian activists, who plastered the state capital, Boise, with 170 stickers that read HETEROSEXUALS ONLY.

The amendment--passed by the legislature on February 15 and headed to voters in November--fueled the bold campaign by about a dozen activists, who hoped the stickers would bring back bad memories of the Jim Crow laws that separated blacks and whites last century. "we felt strongly about taking an action against what the legislature did," said Jennie Myers, 28.

The group snuck inside the state capitol building early on the morning of March 6, tiptoeing around armed guards as they put the stickers on bathroom doors before going outside and placing them on Boise bus stop benches and drinking fountains. "We had an accelerated pulse rate," said Dan Scott, 42. "We were certainly aware of what we were doing and that there could be legal consequences."

The stickers were removed (though not by the group) by day's end, and the fallout was relatively quiet, considering Idaho's staunchly conservative culture. Two local TV stations covered the campaign; state senate president pro tempore Robert Geddes, a Republican who was the amendment's senate sponsor, told one that the stickers were wrong "because I think everybody has the same rights here in Idaho, and we're not taking anybody's rights away."

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