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Gay rights activists arrested again after Idaho capitol protest

Friday, February 28, 2014
Idaho arrests

John Miller, AP
Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, rear, looks out from the Idaho Senate’s office suite after being blockaded inside by gay rights protesters seeking to add anti-discrimination protections to the Idaho Human Rights Act on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 in Boise, Idaho. In all, 46 people were arrested and taken by law-enforcement bus to jail, bringing the total number of demonstrators arrested to at least 122 this month.

BOISE, Idaho — Gay rights activists were again led out of the Idaho Statehouse in shackles and taken to jail by bus Thursday after a renewed protest seeking to add anti-discrimination protections to Idaho law.

Forty-six people were arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, some of them for the third time this month.

The demonstrators blocked lawmakers and the public from reaching Senate committee rooms on the west side of the Capitol for more than an hour before Idaho State Police intervened. The protesters stood shoulder to shoulder, obstructing the hallway to the hearing rooms, as well as a door leading outside.

Idaho arrests

John Miller, AP
Gay rights protesters block the Senate hallway at the Idaho Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 in Boise, Idaho.

The group wants the Legislature to add protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation to the Idaho Human Rights Act. Republican leaders have declined to hold even a hearing on the issue, now in its eighth year. Protest organizer and former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour said before the arrests that activists were determined to stay until committees meet on a bill.

Some of the silent protesters held photos of Maddie Beard, a gay Pocatello teen who committed suicide this month. They wore black shirts with “Add the Four Words” emblazoned on the front, for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

“We have to give young people hope that their state is going to stand up for them,” LeFavour said.

The group has held more than a half-dozen protests this month, with a total of more than 120 arrests.

Some senators — including leaders of the Transportation Committee and Commerce and Human Resources Committee — were blockaded in their offices during the demonstration. As a result, those meetings were canceled.

That was a blow to Dave Lounsberry, who made a five-hour trip from Lewiston to Idaho’s capital city to testify against a payday loan bill in the Senate Commerce and Resources Committee. He said he was sympathetic to the gay rights activists, but it was unfair for the protesters to drown out everyone else as they seek recognition for their cause.

“All of us have a voice,” Lounsberry said. “It’s good they’re being recognized, but now we’re not.”

LeFavour, who retired from the Legislature in 2012, said that was the fault of lawmakers dragging their feet.

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“As soon as the House or Senate schedules a hearing, this won’t be a problem anymore,” she said. “We would love to stop.”

Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, rejected his former colleague’s claim.

“I thought she was here long enough to understand that we make laws on data, not emotion,” Hagedorn said. He called it a waste of money to keep lawmakers sitting idle, as well as unfair to the people who took time out of their daily schedules to testify before the committees.

“It is frustrating,” he said. “It’s not like we don’t understand what their desires are — that was pretty clear their first protest.”

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43 more reader comments:

  1. The revolution is on…

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:36pm
  2. “The demonstrators blocked lawmakers and the public from reaching Senate committee rooms on the west side of the Capitol for more than an hour before Idaho State Police intervened.”

    Yeah, protesting is okay. This is not, and it’s why they were arrested.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:37pm
  3. So I assume you also agree that police should not be preventing people from accessing public areas during G8 conventions or WTO stuff.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:43pm
  4. Absolutely. I'm not a fan of people being blocked from going where they're allowed to go in general, no matter who's doing it.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:44pm
  5. FK THEESE LAWS LGBTO , I HOPE THE GAY GUY IS OK , LOVE YOU JOHNNNY XXOOXX

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:38pm
  6. Why is it not okay? They are the very ones whose rights are being voted on. They have every right.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:40pm
  7. We’re behind you, activists!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:42pm
  8. Gwyn Mullins sometimes this is what it takes to get noticed. They didn’t break anything or make any kind of mess. Stopping a bunch of close minded bigots from going to work isn’t really that bad. No one got shot…..no one died.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:42pm
  9. GM is another right wing trollop. Ignore her.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:44pm
  10. Me too, I’m all for the fight! “Arrested!” stupid Idaho! Can’t stop CHANGE!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:49pm
  11. Everyone has a right to their opinion even Gwen Gwyn Mullins. Now the importance of bigotry we know is NOT important until we need to know who the enemy is. Love counts stop the h8…folks let’s celebrate

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:50pm
  12. How much does it cost the city to keep arresting them over and over again? Plus man hours to do the job?

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:52pm
  13. This is what upsets me, pretty much they’re saying that it’s ok if hateful bigots protest and bash the LGBT community but it’s not ok for the LGBT community to protest, that’s freakin bull crap!!! Arrest the hateful bigots, after all they’re the ones causing the hate and violence. The LGBT community has every right to protest and we won’t stop until we get our equal rights!!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:59pm
  14. :(

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:04pm
  15. Rose, they are coming!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:06pm
  16. Keep at it guys! Everyone in America with a brain stands with you! I’d be there if it wasn’t several hundred miles away

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:15pm
  17. Land of the FREE ?

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:23pm
  18. It’s time for change in the country and the world.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:33pm
  19. What is the difference between Westboro doing it and someone standing up for rights ? Westboro don’t get arrested but they need too

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:36pm
  20. “Don’t stop”

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:50pm
  21. freedome of speech and protest,its what seperates our rights as americans,to other countries.Its what we stand for.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:10pm
  22. If you indeed have a back bone.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:10pm
  23. The Westboro Church Protests and nothing happens !!! The LGBT community does and this happens . . . . this is BS !!!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:19pm
  24. Keep up the fight

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:27pm
  25. Idaho, Kansas, Miss, Russia, or Uganda ….. Keep on protesting….we will win!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:00pm
  26. block all politicians from earning money they steal from us!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:04pm
  27. Keep fighting, keep protesting, keep yelling out loud. WE CANNOT STAND FOR THIS!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:13pm
  28. FIGHT BACK!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:29pm
  29. Good for them

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8:03pm
  30. Don’t stop…I’m supporting you

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8:17pm
  31. It’s BS. Fight the good fight

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8:24pm
  32. For using their voice? It only makes our country look worse to arrest them.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8:34pm
  33. But yet the westboro baptist church can protest at dead soldiers funerals. And religious people can protest against same sex marriage being legal. But yet, lgbt members aren’t allowed to protest :/

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8:40pm
  34. Lock him up and throw away the key

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8:40pm
  35. Keep fighting the good fight, Idaho protestors! YOU WILL WIN EVENTUALLY.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8:47pm
  36. does freedom of assembly not apply here? so long as it’s a peaceable protest and they aren’t interfering with anyone…

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8:55pm
  37. Set in occupy down with homophobia release all those arrested take the homophobes prisoner!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 9:18pm
  38. The homophobes use terror against gay people bit you must stay strong and demand freedom from hateful bigoted laws ! They the bigots are all NAZI fascistic!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 9:21pm
  39. Illegal and unconstitutional arrests take these to the SJC.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 9:32pm
  40. repugs and terriost state

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:21pm
  41. The part I’ve never understood is those cases where legislatures use trespassing laws to get people out. Now, these are public buildings owned by the people, so how one can trespass on one’s own property is beyond me.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:40pm
  42. I would be proud to be arrested for this!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:43pm
  43. being disrespectful and blocking it got them what they deserved three times throw away the key

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:53pm