Idaho Rejects Anti-Discrimination Law For Gays - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Idaho Rejects Anti-Discrimination Law For Gays

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho Senate committee on Friday, on a straight party-line vote, rejected legislation to ban housing and employment discrimination against gay people, as a shocked crowd of more than 250 supporters of the human rights bill looked on.

Judy Halverson, a United Methodist Women member from Boise who was among the crowd attending the hearing, called the decision "just very disappointing, not even to be allowed to be heard." The committee refused to introduce the bill, which would have allowed a public hearing on it. "I'm just astounded," Halverson said. "This is 2012. It's time, it is time."

All session, a low-key "Add the Words" campaign to update the act with the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" has been working to win at least an introduction.

Friday morning's hearing was short, lasting less than 10 minutes - enough time for a tearful plea from Democratic Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai to give the bill a full public vetting.

After Republicans rejected the bill, there was shock and disbelief in the packed audience, with some crying and others saying "That's Idaho."

Republican Sen. Russ Fulcher said he respected those who want the changes, but "It was just a clash of world views."

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