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Former Idaho governor urges lawmakers to pass statewide LGBT protections

Thursday, February 27, 2014
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BOISE, Idaho — Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt is again urging the Legislature to add protections for gay, lesbian and transgender residents to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Phil Batt

Phil Batt

In an editorial he sent Wednesday to media outlets, the Republican bucked his party colleagues in the legislature’s majority.

He wrote that not adding protections shows what he called Idaho’s “disdain for people who are different than most of us” — something that drives people, including his gay grandson, beyond the state’s borders for more welcoming territory.

The “Add the Words” movement has yielded 76 arrests and multiple demonstrations at the Statehouse in Boise.

Still, Republican leaders have said they won’t give the issue a hearing.

Batt first spoke out urging lawmakers to include housing and employment protections for gays in November.

He served from 1995 to 1998.

On Tuesday, more than 100 gay rights demonstrators filled the Capitol’s basement corridor seeking to convince Republican lawmakers to update the Idaho Human Rights Act with discrimination protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

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