Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on today's arrests in "Add the 4 Words" protests. In all, there were 25 arrests, including six people who were arrested twice. The protesters called for adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act, which currently prohibits discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on race, gender, religion and disability, but not on sexual orientation.
After nine years of refusing, Idaho lawmakers held a full hearing on the “Add the Words” bill this year, and heard three days of emotional testimony about the experiences of gay and transgender Idahoans, along with comments from the bill’s opponents. Then, the House State Affairs Committee killed the bill on a party-line vote, with all the panel’s majority Republicans voting against it. Opponents on the committee said they’d consider a compromise bill that includes religious freedom protections, but none has been introduced, and the Idaho legislative session is nearing its closing weeks.
Since Idaho held its hearing in January, the Utah Legislature introduced and passed a compromise bill to protect gays from discrimination in housing and employment while including religious freedom protections; the Utah Legislature has now adjourned for the year. All the protesters arrested at the Idaho Capitol on Monday were charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor.