Nearly two dozen silent protesters are blocking the entrance of the Senate chamber this morning, holding their hands over their mouths. “We’re not leaving until they go back down to the committee rooms,” said former Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise. “At the end of the session they print and pass bills in hours. It’s adding four words. Legislative services could draft that in minutes.”
LeFavour said the protesters are planning to stay “as long as it takes,” and are willing to be arrested. They want the Idaho Human Rights Act amended to add the works “sexual orientation” and “gender identity;” the act now bans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of race, religion, disability and other factors, but not on those. The “Add the Words” bill has been proposed for each of the last eight legislative sessions, but have never gotten a full committee hearing; earlier this session, this year’s sponsors of the bill, Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb and Rep. Grant Burgoyne, announced they they’ve been informed they won’t get a hearing this year either.
The protesters this morning are wearing dark T-shirts that say, "Add the 4 Words, Idaho; Finally say cruelty to gay and transgender people is wrong."