Boise Democrat Sen. Maryanne Jordan introduced “Add the Words” legislation as a personal bill in the Idaho Senate last week to include the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the Idaho Human Rights Act to bar discrimination on those bases in employment, housing and public accommodations. Jordan’s bill, SB 1226, is co-sponsored by all legislative Democrats in both the House and the Senate.

“Idahoans and their families are desperate for the Legislature to Add the Words,” Jordan said in a statement. “Protection from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation for all is a human right.”

She added, “While several cities across Idaho ... have ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, all citizens should be protected from being kicked out of their home or being fired from their job regardless of their gender or who they love.”

Several cities across Idaho that have ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, all citizens should be protected from being kicked out of their home or being fired from their job regardless of their gender or who they love.”

The proposal has been brought forward every year for well over a decade, but has never gotten out of committee.

“The pleas of LGBTQ Idahoans have been ignored by the Legislature for too many years,” Jordan said. “I am committed to protecting the lives and rights of all people and in order to do so, Idaho’s Human Rights Act needs to be updated. Adding this language to Idaho’s anti-discrimination laws would help to eliminate the fear of retribution in the workplace or sudden, unexpected homelessness. I will continue to support Add the Words legislation until all members of the LGBTQ community in Idaho are protected by our state laws.”

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.