Gay Rights Supporters Will Try To Sway Idaho Lawmakers To 'Add The Words'

Jan 25, 2015

For the first time in nine years, supporters of the "Add the Words" movement will get the chance to testify in front of lawmakers. On Monday, the House State Affairs Committee will hear HB 2 beginning at 8 a.m.

If approved, the bill would ban discrimination against gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people by adding the phrase "sexual orientation and gender identity" to the state's human rights act.

Currently there is no statewide law which protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from being fired, losing their housing or being kicked out of public establishments. Supporters of a law that would make this kind of discrimination illegal protested during much of the 2014 legislative session, leading to a number of arrests at the Capitol.

Activists in favor of the bill are organizing a "Pack the Hearing" event over social media. The Facebook invite encourages members of the public to show up at 6 a.m. Monday to get their name on the list to testify. The hearing will take place in the Lincoln Auditorium in the east wing of the Capitol.

Rep. Thomas Loertscher, R-Iona, chairs the committee. The chairman will let people know on Monday morning how much time will be allotted for individual testimony. Depending on how many people testify, the hearings could go until Wednesday.

There are 13 Republicans and four Democrats on the House State Affairs Committee.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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