BOISE, Idaho — A former Idaho Republican governor says it’s time the Legislature updated the state Human Rights Act to include housing and job discrimination protections for gays, lesbians and transgender individuals.
Former Gov. Phil Batt made the comments this week when he was honored with the Idaho Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Human Rights Commission in Caldwell.
Batt, who as a lawmaker in 1960 helped establish the Human Rights Commission, is the first recipient of the award.
At the ceremony last week, Batt said it makes no sense not to extend protections to gays and lesbians.
He says they shouldn’t have to fear discrimination when seeking somewhere to live, a hotel room or a job.
Idaho’s Republican lawmakers have repeatedly refused to expand the state’s Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity — most recently during a 2012 Senate committee hearing — prompting several local municipalities to enact their own laws.
To date, seven Idaho cities have adopted LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances: Boise, Sandpoint, Ketchum, Moscow, Coeur d’Alene, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.
The Pocatello ordinance faces a May 2104 ballot referendum.