Add The Words

Meridian residents at the public hearing at the city council meeting
Darin Oswald, Idaho Statesman

On Tuesday, Meridian City Council passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, joining 13 other Idaho municipalities with similar laws.

Add The Words
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A group that has long pushed for Idaho lawmakers to pass legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from employment and housing discrimination has shuttered its political action committee.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The President Pro Tem of Idaho’s Senate, Brent Hill (R-Rexburg) Tuesday said his greatest disappointment for the current legislative session is that lawmakers have not brought forth a bill to prevent discrimination against the LGBT community that also ensures religious freedom. A week ago Hill told KBSX that negotiations had been going on behind the scenes and that there was still time in the session to present a bill.

Why Idaho LGBT Activists Are Not Protesting Right Now

Feb 23, 2016
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

We’re more than a month and a half into the 2016 session of Idaho’s legislature. By this point in last year’s session, dozens of protesters had been arrested. They wanted lawmakers to pass a bill making it illegal to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The year before saw similar protests but this year they’ve been largely absent.

Nicole LeFavour, one of the leaders of the Add the Words movement says it’s because a group of senators has been meeting to craft a bill that could get bipartisan support.

isvend09 / Flickr Creative Commons

The city of Hailey will soon be added to a growing list of Idaho towns with non-discrimination ordinances that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Hailey's new law will take effect later this spring, and will ban discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. At that point, more than 450,000 Idahoans will be protected under one of these municipal laws. That's almost 30 percent of the state's population.

Tim Connor / Flickr Creative Commons

Hailey is set to become the 11th city in Idaho to pass a non-discrimination ordinance. The law – which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – comes after the Idaho Legislature failed to pass a similar statewide measure earlier this year.

Hailey city attorney Ned Williamson drafted the ordinance, and says he looked to Boise's 2012 law as a model.

Frank Swift / Flickr Creative Commons

After a failed attempt to pass what's known as Idaho's "Add the Words" bill earlier this session, some people are looking to a neighboring state for guidance.

Last week, Utah's Republican-led Legislature passed what's being touted as a landmark gay rights law that has the support of the Mormon Church.

This story was updated at 12:05 p.m.

More than 20 gay rights activists have been arrested after protesting in the Idaho House and Senate chambers in an attempt to pressure lawmakers into passing anti-discrimination protections.

Activists taking part in the protest that started Monday morning warned they would not voluntarily leave until legislators consider adding four words — sexual orientation and gender identity — to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Data: Idaho Human Rights Commission | Chart: Adam Cotterell

It’s been more than a week since Idaho lawmakers killed the “Add the Words” bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. If it had become law, the ban would have expanded the investigation authority of the Idaho Commission on Human Rights.

That got us wondering what the commission does investigate. So we asked for some data using Idaho’s public records laws.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Earlier this week, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a rare press conference announcing their support of laws that would protect gay and transgender people from discrimination while still safeguarding religious freedom.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A panel in the Idaho House is expected to vote this morning on a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The vote comes after three days of hearings.

The nearly 20 hours of testimony came from gay people speaking about their experience with discrimination in Idaho. Parents talked about worrying their gay or transgender children would be fired or kicked out apartments.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Several hundred people packed an auditorium in the Idaho Capitol Monday for a hearing on a measure known as the Add the Words bill.

It’s the first time the Legislature has considered a bill that would make sexual orientation and gender identity a protected class in Idaho -- like race or religion. Proponents have been trying to get it heard for nine years.

Some of the most emotional testimony came from the parents of gay and transgender children.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Thousands of Idahoans have flocked to the Statehouse to testify in front of lawmakers concerning a bill that would include sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state's Human Rights Act.

The legislation, commonly called the "Add the Words" bill, had been denied a public hearing for nine consecutive years.

Kyle Green
Idaho Statesman

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.

protest, capitol
Courtesy Idaho Statesman

A gay rights proposal known as the “Add the Words” bill will be heard for the first time in the Idaho legislature.

A committee of the Idaho House voted 6-1 Wednesday to introduce a bill that would ban discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. The measure would add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes in Idaho’s Human Rights Act.

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