State Politics

After demonstration, embattled Add the Words legislation introduced at Idaho Legislature

Add the Words supporters push for LGBT protections at Idaho’s Capitol

About 600 people attended a rally at the Statehouse in January 2016, advocating for the civil protections of LGBT individuals across Idaho.
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About 600 people attended a rally at the Statehouse in January 2016, advocating for the civil protections of LGBT individuals across Idaho.

Legislation has been introduced to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from employment and housing discrimination in Idaho.

Democratic Sen. Maryanne Jordan of Boise introduced the legislation Friday.

The legislation would add the words “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to the Idaho Human Rights Act. The law bans discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion and national origin in housing, employment and public accommodations.

Previous efforts to add the words have been blocked for more than a decade because the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature is concerned the change could infringe on religious freedoms.

Attempts to find a compromise proposal between lawmakers and activists have failed to gain traction.

Roughly 200 demonstrators on Wednesday gathered inside the Statehouse to get Idaho lawmakers to pass legislation adding the words.

The demonstrators carried signs describing past instances of discrimination they or someone else has experienced.

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