Lesbian former state senator hides in Idaho Statehouse closet, is suspended from Senate floor

Lesbian former senator hid in closet for more than five hours in an attempt to convince Republican lawmakers to change the wording of the Idaho Human Rights Act.
By Evan Bleier  |  March 19, 2014 at 3:40 PM
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After she hid in a closet in the Idaho Statehouse for more than five hours in an attempt to convince Republican lawmakers to update the language in the Idaho Human Rights Act, former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour has been banned from the Senate floor.

In Idaho, former senators are allowed to enter Senate chambers, even during sessions.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 28-6 to temporarily suspend floor privileges for LeFavour and other former lawmakers.

"I’ll not speculate as to her motives, but from where she was hiding, she was able to eavesdrop on private discussions and telephone conversations in this room behind the chamber," Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill told the Idaho Statesman. "She has demonstrated disregard for the law, resulting in multiple arrests this session. We cannot have anyone abusing their privileges in the Senate.”

LeFavour, who was the state's first openly gay lawmaker, has already been arrested six times for protesting at the state Capitol. She is attempting to get lawmakers to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the act which outlines the state’s anti-discrimination provisions.

She was discovered in the closet by staffers late on Tuesday afternoon. “Closets are never safe for gay or transgender people,” LeFavour told The Spokesman-Review. “It’s a very large closet. There are lots of people in closets out there, and they’re not comfortable.”

Sen. Hill asked LeFavour to leave the premises.

“It seemed to me that there was some initial reluctance, but there was compliance,” said Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis. “I have no idea how long she was there.”

[The Spokesman-Review] [Idaho Statesman]

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