About 35 “Add the Words” protesters were back in the Statehouse today; after the House and Senate adjourned their morning session, the protesters circled the third-floor rotunda and stood solemnly, hands covering their mouths, to signify not having been heard. They want a hearing on adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act’s anti-discrimination protections, but no hearing has been scheduled.
While the protesters stood, two singer-guitarists in the 1st floor rotunda below played music including “We Shall Overcome,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and an original composition entitled “Add the Words.” Former Idaho Sen. Nicole LeFavour said, “We’re making sure that lawmakers see us. Every person here has a story, and the stories are so powerful and sometimes so devastating.” Throughout this year's legislative session, there have been more than 150 arrests of “Add the Words” protesters who blocked areas in the Statehouse or refused to leave; hundreds more have participated in peaceful protests like today's.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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