Idaho Votes Against Adding LGBT Protections To State’s Human Rights Act

It might be time to start a potato boycott: On Friday, legislators in Idaho voted down a measure to add protections for LGBT citizens to the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

The Times-News reports,

Shock, anger and sadness reverberated through the Idaho Senate auditorium Friday morning after a party-line vote by the Senate State Affairs Committee killed legislation to add protections for gay, lesbian and transgendered individuals under the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Legislative committees don’t hear testimony at print hearings, but that didn’t stop 300 people from watching as the proposal fell, with only the committee’s two Democrats voting to print the bill. Many attendees wore buttons or shirts stating their support for the legislation, referred to as “Add The Words.”

Sen. Edgar Malepeai (D-Pocatello), introduced the measure and fought back tears as he asked members to print the bill and allow testimony from supporters. “In my opinion, it would be profoundly disrespectful not to afford,” said Malepeai said, who is straight. Pausing to collect himself, he added: “Not to afford those tens of thousands of families affected by this legislation with at least a printing of the bill.”

At a “print hearing” such as this, committee members decide whether or not to formally introduce a bill for consideration. Once “printed,” a measure is entered into the public record and then voted on. With Malepeai (right) and Sen. Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum) the only two of nine committee members who voted in favor of printing the bill, its existence won’t even be entered into the public record.

While public testimony is generally not taken at such meetings, sources say Committee Chairman Curt McKenzie (R-Nampa) could have easily allowed it. After the vote was called and the committee adjourned, one witness exclaimed, “Have you no shame?”

We’re gonna go with “no.”

Photos: The Spokesman-Review, Idaho State Legislature, Kevin Rank

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #anti-discriminationlaws #boise #edgarmalepeai stories and more


  • Abel

    Disappointing but no surprise. It’s a heavily Mormon state, and Mormons hate gays.
    No news there.

  • Hank

    Potato Boycott? Isn’t that already a part of my no-carb diet?

  • Cam

    Idaho is the second state, behind only Utah in the percentage of Mormons living there. This is no surprise, the church has their areas of control and they have let their membership know how to vote and where to stand. Remember, most of these politicians there can’t get elected without support from their own wards and the church in general. They will do what they are told.

  • christopher di spirito

    Idaho is a winger state. Don’t understand how so many A-listers have property there.

  • Shannon1981

    Saddening, but not surprising..The only thing that will bring middle America and the Bible Belt into the 21st century is the Feds dragging them along.

  • the crustybastard

    Idaho is full of white separatists, religious fundamentalists, and other toenail chewing bigots.

    Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t just legalize gay bashing with a “no bag limit.”

  • Cam

    @the crustybastard: said…

    “toenail chewing”


  • EGO

    It is unfortunate that most of the politicians in Idaho believe in inequality for its citizens. Back in the fall of 1955 in Boise when gays were persecuted, 9 out of 10 of them were Mormans, what a bunch of hypocrites. It is time for Idaho politicians to step up to the plate and provide equality for all of its citizens. Its neighbor next door, Wyoming, may beat them to the punch.

Comments are closed.