It was a familiar scene at the Idaho Statehouse Wednesday as approximately 60 Add The Words demonstrators lined up to express their frustration with the Idaho legislature's failure to consider a bill that would add the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Idaho's human rights law. This is the first demonstration since several ATW demonstrators were arrested and issued citations at a similar event last week.
Marching single-file with their hands over their mouths, they snaked in front of the Capitol, to the House and Senate galleries—where they were turned away because their Add The Words Idaho shirts were in violation of Senate and House rules—before encircling the rotunda on the second floor.
They could have stayed there, backs to the donut hole with their hands over their mouths, forever—or at least until their arrest; but after less than 30 minutes organizer Nicole LeFavour directed them back outside before marching silently back to the Chandlee Building in downtown Boise.
"I don't know how many ways we can show them we've been silenced," said organizer and former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour.
This demonstration was marked by its silence, but LeFavour indicated that being heard will play a significant part in a demonstration next week, which she said will involve musicians playing instruments. A training session is planned for Sunday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. at the Balcony Club.
At the demonstration's terminus in the Chandlee Building, ATW spokesman Mike Butts indicated he worried that without adding "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to Idaho's human rights law "amounts to codified discrimination and a culture of fear.
"As the law stands now it's legal to discriminate against gay and transgender Idahoans," he said. "I think it's cruel and the result is thousands of people in this state live in fear."