Idaho Senators Vote Against Gay Rights Bill

Nov 7, 2013

Credit VPickering / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's Republican Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted against today's historic vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, that gives workplace protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Earlier this week on a conference call with reporters, Sen. Crapo said it shouldn't be up to federal lawmakers to create laws that prevent LGBT discrimination. Instead, said Crapo, it should be up to local governments.

“I tend to believe that just as the federal government should honor the rights of states, states should honor the rights of cities in those areas where there is not some kind of a compelling interest,” Crapo said.

At least six Idaho towns, including Boise, have created anti-discrimination rules that provide some protections for people who identify as LGBT.

The Washington Post reports the effort to create workplace protections for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people began nearly two decades ago.

"In a sign of rapidly shifting opinions on gay rights, every member of the Senate Democratic caucus was joined by 10 Republican senators to approve the measure. The first time the Senate voted on a measure similar to ENDA, in 1996, Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted no. On Thursday they voted yes.

“This is the right thing to do,” McCain told reporters shortly before he cast his vote." - Washington Post

The bill, commonly referred to as ENDA, isn't expected to be voted on in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) opposes the bill