A committee of the Idaho state senate refused to consider a bill that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
About 50 supporters of the proposed change to the Idaho Human Rights Act filed quietly out of the room, some in tears, after the Senate State Affairs Committee voice vote. Similar bills have been rejected in the past. Idaho’s 1968 Human Rights Act currently forbids workplace and housing discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color, national origin or mental or physical disability. The measure defeated Friday would have prohibited discrimination in employment, education and housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Co-Sponsor Sen. Charles Coiner, R-Twin Falls, compared the gay, lesbian and transgender community’s push to be included in the law to the push to forbid discrimination based on physical or mental disability. “Their movement is a few years behind but it’s moving forward,” Coiner said. “We’ve got work to do.” Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, the state’s only openly gay lawmaker, said because there is no due process for those in the gay, lesbian and transgender community who feel they are victims of discrimination, they “endure in silence.”
RELATED: A 2007 voter referendum inserted bans on same-sex marriage and civil unions into Idaho’s state constitution.