BOISE - Gay rights activists who were led out of the Idaho Statehouse in handcuffs earlier this year are set to be sentenced in court Monday afternoon.
Members of the "Add the Words" group were arrested after launching a series of protests during the Idaho Legislature. The group has been urging lawmakers to add the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the Idaho Human Rights Act for eight years. That would create protections against someone being fired or kept from buying or renting a home based on their sexual orientation.
But lawmakers blocked the issue from reaching a hearing during the 2014 legislative session. A series of silent protests inside the Capitol building culminated in more than 100 arrests when the activists blocked the Senate Chambers, hearing rooms and the Governor's office, and attempted to remain in the Statehouse overnight.
The protesters, many of whom were arrested several times, were almost all charged with misdemeanor trespassing. Former Sen. Nicole LeFavour, Idaho's first openly gay lawmaker and a leader of the Add the Words group, was also charged with resisting and obstructing officers. That charge was later dismissed by prosecutors.
A group of the arrested activists will appear in front of Judge Michael Oths at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Those charged with trespass each face up to six months in jail and a fine, but the judge has authority to sentence them to community service, rather than jail time.