Arrest of gay rights activists in Idaho gets national spotlight
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- It was a quiet, peaceful, even polite event.
But the arrest this week of more than forty gay rights activists who blocked entry to the senate chambers is making noise in the national and international media.
The years-long effort to get Republican state lawmakers to pass a bill adding discrimination protection for gays and transgender people to the Idaho Human Rights Act is grabbing headlines around the country and the world.
It all comes as polls show more and more Americans think same sex marriages should be legally recognized.
As recently as 2009, Gallup discovered that only 40 percent of Americans thought that gay and lesbian marriages should be legally recognized. That number has swelled to nearly 60 percent, including 81 percent of Americans under age 30, according to a Washington Post poll last year.
Seventeen states have now legalized gay marriage, up from just two states in 2008.
Meantime, the Idaho legislature is poised to pass a bill prohibiting same-sex couples legally married elsewhere from filing joint state income tax returns.
Idaho, or so it seems, is being perceived as one of the least gay friendly states in the union.
One gay rights group even called for the unthinkable -- a boycott of Idaho's famous potatoes.