Add The Words begins statehouse protests

BOISE -- Supporters of the Add The Words campaign were back at the Idaho Statehouse three days after the Senate State Affairs Committee rejected proposed changes to the state's Human Rights act.

This time they were carrying protest signs.

The proposed changes would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from workplace and housing discrimination by updating the act with the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity".

Their protest Monday specifically focused on Sen. John McGee for remarks the majority caucus chairman made to reporters Friday after the committee rejected the bill along a straight party vote.

"In one breath, (he was) saying discrimination does happen and in the next breath (he was) saying the only thing to do is educate people," said Add The Words spokesperson Mistie Tolman. "So we're here to educate people."

She says the group plans protests at the state capitol all month long and in the Caldwell Republican's home district.

Sen McGee responded that all Americans have the right to protest. But he did not back off from comments he made to reporters Friday that the committee did not want to create "special groups" or "special categories."

"I appreciate their concern, and their disappointment," Sen. McGee said. "But we've got a job to do here and we're moving on."
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