“Add the 4 Words” protesters are blocking all entrances to the bill drafting office of the Idaho Legislature this morning, with one holding a sign saying, “Open for Add the Words Bill Only.” “People are welcome to leave this office, and we will make way to protect public health and safety, but we intend to allow entry only to legislators beginning work or drafting a new bill to add the four words ‘sexual orientation, gender identity’ to Idaho’s Human Rights Act, our existing state non-discrimination law,” the protesters said in a statement.
Lawmakers for the first time held a full hearing on the bill this year in the House State Affairs Committee, but then killed the bill on a party-line vote. At that time, several opponents of the measure on the committee said they’d support a compromise bill that also included protections for religious freedom. However, no such compromise bill has been introduced in Idaho, even as Utah has taken up such legislation and passed it, with backing of the LDS church.
“Today we stand peacefully, silently and respectfully in place in the Capitol, where we will stay until serious effort is made to craft a bill to add the four words to Idaho law, showing the Idaho Legislature’s respect for religious values and the golden rule,” the protesters said in their statement. Idaho State Police are on the scene; if the protesters don’t leave, they likely will be arrested, as were 23 protesters who refused to leave the House and Senate chambers on March 2.