State Senator Nicole LeFavour posted photos this evening of a dramatic protest held today in Idaho.
Senator LeFavour, Idaho’s first openly gay lawmaker, led a protest in which police say forty-three activists were arrested.
Before the demonstration began, Senator LeFavour told reporters the group would block the entrances to the Idaho senate chamber until senators agree to take up a bill adding LGBT protections, or until protesters were removed by authorities. It was that second eventuality that occurred.
Forty-three protesters, including Sen. LeFavour, were arrested after Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill attempted to enter the chamber about 11 a.m. Monday. Senator Hill found the doors blocked by men and women standing shoulder to shoulder, wearing black T-shirts with the message “Add the 4 words Idaho”. The four words they are referring to are “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” which the protesters want to add to an already existing Idaho law banning discrimination in employment, housing and business services.
“We respect your right to protest, but we also have the right to do the job people elected us to do.” Senate President Hill told protesters before police arrived, scolding them that they were being “irresponsible” to block the chamber.
Hill and Idaho Republicans have blocked adding LGBT non-discrimination provisions for the last eight years, and they have refused to bring the matter to the floor this session. But a bill introduced last month that would forbid the state from revoking professional licenses of those who refuse service or employment on religious grounds, has reinvigorated the gay rights supporters and civil liberties groups.
Those arrested, which include people from high school age to their seventies, now face misdemeanor trespassing charges, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
“I don’t think you could stop people from showing up in greater numbers to do something peacefully, but pointedly, again and again and again.”
Photos: Senator LeFavour’s Facebook
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