Idaho state police on Monday arrested and cited 44 gay rights activists for trespassing after they blocked the entrance to the state Senate chamber at the Capitol in Boise, the Idaho Statesman reported.
The protesters were supporting a group called Add the Words, which seeks to tack sexual orientation and gender identity protections onto Idaho’s Human Rights Act. The protest aimed to draw attention to the fact that no Idaho statute offers workplace protections based on sexual orientation, according to the Statesman.
Police arrested the last protester after 11 a.m. so that the legislature could move ahead with its business. The last protester was former Democratic state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, who blocked the doorway to the state Senate chambers by standing with her hands over her mouth and refusing to move or talk, according to the newspaper.
“I think now a lot more people are aware that this body, this Legislature, is failing terribly in protecting a lot of good people who live in this state,” LeFavour told the Idaho State Journal, adding “I consider myself a gay person, so gay people, or transgender people, have just simply not been protected by the folks in this Legislature.”
A Republican majority blocked an Add the Words measure from advancing in this legislative session, according to the Statesman. Although the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act last year, no workplace protections exist at the federal level based on sexual orientation or gender identity either.