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Idaho Legislative Panel Kills LGBT Rights Bill

Jessica Robinson
Northwest News Network
"Add The Words" supporters stood in the hall after a house panel rejected the anti-discrimination bill. They held their hands to their mouths to represent their voices not being heard.

After more than 20 hours of public testimony, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee decided to kill the "Add the Words" bill that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Idahoans.

The House State Affairs Committee —made up of the Legislature's most conservative lawmakers— voted 13-4 to hold the bill in committee. Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

In the nine years that LGBT activists have been fighting for it, this is the furthest the bill has come.

Some of the debate among committee members this morning was emotional.

"My heart has been touched by this hearing," said Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls. "I've gotten to know you, and I know from this point on forever I will be kinder and I will be compassionate to those who bear a heavy burden."

Last year, dozens of protesters were arrested at the statehouse while demanding a hearing for this bill.

190 people testified since the hearing began this Monday. According to the Eye On Boise blog, 134 people spoke in favor of the bill, 54 spoke against and two were neutral.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio

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