By Kevin OKeeffe
Originally published on Advocate.com February 04 2014 12:31 PM ET
Silent protestors were arrested in the Idaho capitol building Monday morning for blocking the entrance to the Senate floor. Led by former Idaho State Sen. Nicole LeFavour, more than 40 demonstrators were attempting to persuade senators to pass sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination protections into law.
LeFavour, Idaho's first openly gay legislator, had said that the protestors would maintain their blockade either until such laws were passed or they were arrested.
The demonstrators wore shirts that read "ADD THE 4 WORDS IDAHO" — a reference to the activists' demands to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the state's nondiscrimination laws. Neither category is currently enumerated in Idaho's nondiscrimination policies, and efforts to add such language have been opposed for eight years by Idaho Republicans, led by Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill.
"We do this for those who live in fear and those who may despair this year if no one speaks for them," the protestors said in a press release.
The number of protestors removed by authorities varies between reports, but according to the Idaho Statesman, which spoke to Idaho State Police, 44 were arrrested and charged with trespassing. The arrests began at approximately 10:30 a.m.
"We respect your right to protest, but we also have the right to do the job people elected us to do," Hill reportedly said to the protestors.
Read more about the protest here.