Twenty-four “Add the Words” protesters are blocking the main entrance to the Idaho Senate chamber on the 3rd floor of the state Capitol this morning. Former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, said the protesters are willing to be arrested rather than leave. It's the fourth protest this session by those who want consideration of legislation to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act to ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations; the bill, proposed for each of the past eight years, hasn't been introduced this year. In the first such protest, earlier this month, 44 people were arrested. Like the earlier protesters, today's are wearing matching shirts saying “Add the 4 Words, Idaho” and holding their hands over their mouths.
In a statement, the protesters said just one of those participating today was among the 44 arrested earlier. “We feel we have tried every avenue to get the legislature to hear our stories and see the harm being done to good people’s lives,” the protesters said in the statement. “We feel this demonstration is our only remaining avenue to ensure they hear us and finally, after 8 years, stand up and say that cruelty to gay and transgender people is wrong.”