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LGBT Advocates Rally In Boise, Push "Add The Words" For The Eighth Year

Frankie Barnhill
Boise State Public Radio

Hundreds of people braved winds and dark clouds to attend a rally Saturday on the steps of the state Capitol in Boise.

The event, sponsored by the group Add the Words, Idaho, brought people from as far away as Kellogg and Idaho Falls all demanding one thing: for the Legislature to add the phrase “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Currently, there is no statewide law that makes it illegal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Idahoans.

The effort is not new. But after seven years of inaction from the Legislature, some advocates have turned to local politics for a solution.

Susie Matsuura came from Pocatello to address the Boise crowd. Last year, the citizen activist helped her city become the sixth Idaho town to pass a local non-discrimination ordinance.

“Cities are realizing that the state Legislature does not take the issue seriously," says Matsuura. "Their citizens are at risk and they’re stepping up to the plate and doing what the state Legislature refuses to do.”

Matsurra isn’t optimistic the “add the words” bill will advance in the statehouse again this year.

“Let’s face it, it’s an election year; legislators will go back to their home districts," Matsuura says. "I don’t know that there’s very many legislators out there who have the guts to do what’s right for this state.”

But she isn’t without hope. She laughs as she says that it’s “just a matter of time” before the state moves forward with gay rights.

“Idaho’s going to get dragged into the future kicking and screaming is what I always say. But we will get there.”

During the group’s seven previous attempts, legislators have yet to formally consider the bill.  

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio

Frankie Barnhill was the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast.

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