Idaho lawmakers pass bills targeting LGBTQ+ citizens. Protesters throw paper hearts in protest.| Trending Viral hub

BOISE, Idaho– Idaho lawmakers passed a series of bills aimed at LGTBQ+ residents this year, including two this week that prevent public employees from being required to use someone’s preferred pronouns and redefining gender as synonymous with sex.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a bill allowing people to sue schools and libraries over books deemed harmful to minors, sending it to Republican Gov. Brad Little. Another bill Little signed into law last week prevents public funds, including Medicaid, from being used for gender-affirming care.

The efforts are part of an ongoing national battle over the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans. Many Republican officials have been actively trying to limit those rights in recent years.

The Idaho legislation was among at least nine bills directly targeting LGBTQ+ rights that have been proposed in the state so far this year, Rebecca De León, spokesperson for the ACLU of Idaho, told the Idaho Statesman. In response to the series of actions, protesters on Tuesday sent more than 48,000 colored paper hearts from the fourth floor of the House of Representatives to the first-floor rotunda, KTVB-TV reported.

The hearts symbolized the 48,000 Idaho residents who identified as part of the LGBTQ+ population in the 2020 census. The hearts were handmade and mailed to the ACLU from 18 cities across the state.

“We specifically wanted lawmakers to be able to see the hearts and hear what we’ve been trying to tell them all session,” De León told the Statesman. “It feels like they haven’t been listening, so we wanted to bring the heart to them.”

Republican Rep. Julianne Young sponsored the bill that redefines gender, which refers to social and self-identity, as synonymous with sex, which refers to biological traits. At least 12 other states have considered similar legislation this year that attempts to remove nonbinary and transgender concepts from statutes. Kansas enacted a law last year that ended legal recognition of transgender identities.

Idaho’s library bill allows community members to submit written requests to remove materials they believe are harmful to minors in an adults-only section, and gives library officials 60 days to make the change. After that point, the community member could sue for damages.

The governor vetoed a similar bill last year, saying he feared it would create a reward system that would increase library costs and ultimately raise prices for taxpayers.

The ACLU and other opponents of the new law preventing public money from being used for gender-affirming health care say it will most likely lead to a federal lawsuit. Idaho is already embroiled in lawsuits over attempts to deny gender-affirming care to transgender residents and has so far not had much success defending them.

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