Idaho Legislature Declines To "Add The Words" Again

Feb 21, 2019

The effort to enshrine protections for LGBTQ people in Idaho's laws dealing with discrimination fell flat this legislative session. Senate President Pro-tem Brent Hill writes "a workable framework for future discussion" has been established.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A bill looking to add language to Idaho’s anti-discrimination laws that would safeguard the rights of LGBTQ individuals won’t advance this year. However, one state lawmaker says progress is being made.

Last month, a bill from Democratic Senator Maryanne Jordan looking to add the words “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” was read in the senate chamber by the secretary.

“Senate bill number 1015 by Jordan: an act relating to civil rights – to provide that freedom from discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity is a civil right,” Secretary Jennifer Novak read to the senators. “To prohibit discrimination against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identity, and to make technical corrections.”

Efforts have been underway for years to add the words to the state’s code dealing with discrimination. This week, Rexburg Republican Brent Hill, the president pro-tem of the senate, said no legislation regarding the campaign would be introduced this session.

In a piece for the Idaho Press, Hill condemns discrimination, saying bigotry and persecution are not tolerated by Idaho residents. He goes on, writing that protections for LGBTQ people could jeopardize the religious liberties of others. While he says no legislation will be introduced, Hill writes “a workable framework for future discussion” has been developed. He calls religious leaders and LGBTQ advocates to come together and have a dialogue.

In response to Hill’s letter, the ACLU of Idaho issued a statement saying the bill read earlier this session offers just the kind of compromise between religion and civil rights Hill seeks.

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