Hundreds of LGBT activists returned to the Idaho statehouse yesterday in another demand that lawmakers add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination protections.
“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.
Two weeks ago 43 activists were arrested for blocking the entrance to the Idaho Senate, but no arrests were reported yesterday. Activists are also battling a just-introduced bill that would legalize anti-gay discrimination. Similar bills have recently surfaced in several others states.