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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 20, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 12
'Add the four words' protest at Idaho capitol
Section One
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'Add the four words' protest at Idaho capitol

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

LGBT rights activists staged three different protests March 16 at the Idaho state capitol building in Boise.

State police made 25 arrests, including six demonstrators who were arrested, released, and then re-arrested at a subsequent protest.

The demonstrators were demanding that lawmakers add the words 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' to Idaho's anti-discrimination laws.

The protests were organized by Add the Words Idaho, an activist group formed by former Idaho Senator Nicole LeFavour and others in 2010.

While same-sex sexual activity is legal in Idaho, and same-sex marriage has been legal since a federal court order in October 2014, there are still no state-wide legal protections for LGBT people against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or credit.

A bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination was voted down in an Idaho House committee in January. At that time, police arrested 23 protestors who invaded the legislative chambers and briefly shut down the state's House and Senate.

In February, another 43 were arrested when LGBT activists blockaded the entrance to the Idaho Senate chamber.

Both chambers are controlled by Republicans.

In 2014, Add the Words organized six protests blockading the legislature and the office of Idaho Governor Butch Otter, resulting in scores of arrests.

While the state government has not moved on the issue, eleven Idaho cities have added LGBT protections to their ordinances including Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Driggs, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, Lewiston, Moscow, Meridian, Pocatello, Sandpoint, and Victor. Twin Falls protects for sexual orientation but not gender identity.

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