Equality advocates in Idaho significantly turned up the pressure on state lawmakers yesterday, swarming the state capitol in Boise by the hundreds to demand that LGBT people be added to the state's Human Rights Act.
The Spokane (Washington) Spokesman-Review reports:
Many held small, hand-lettered signs saying, "Add the words." The demonstrators want the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" added to the Idaho Human Rights Act, which now forbids discrimination based on race, religion, disability and other factors, but not on those two.
"This is the eighth year we've been working on this, the eighth consecutive session that they told us they won't even give us a public hearing," said Mistie Tolman, co-chair and spokeswoman for Add the Words, the group pushing for the change. "If we need to, there will be a ninth year and there will be a 10th year. We'll keep coming back. We're not going away until we right this wrong."
Twenty-one states, including Washington and Oregon, have laws banning discrimination against gays. In Washington, the process was a long one: A bill was introduced every year for 29 years before it finally passed in 2006.
There were reportedly enough demonstrators to fill all four floors of the state capitol.
Earlier this month, 43 LGBT advocates were arrested for blocking the entrance to the Idaho Senate chambers. Like today's action, they were protesting the state's years-long refusal to protect LGBT people from workplace and housing discrimination. Lawmakers were unable to enter the chambers for more than two hours.
A brief video of today's demonstration is after the jump.