Openly Gay Idaho Lawmaker Is Quitting After Having 'Lost Patience' With State Conservatives, Laments NYT
Seattle-based New York Times reporter William Yardley reported melodramatically from Boise Saturday on the retirement of a gay state lawmaker, Nicole LeFavour, raising her gay rights priorities over those of every other legislator in Idaho: "Idaho Senator to Push Gay Rights Bill From the Outside."
Lawmakers next door in Washington State just voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Here, they will not allow a bill to be formally filed that would protect gay people from basic forms of discrimination in areas like education, employment, public services and real estate transactions.
Next door, the lawmaker who leads the Senate’s most powerful committee, Ways and Means, is the same one who led the gay marriage bill to passage. The lawmaker, Senator Ed Murray of Seattle, is gay. In the final floor debate, he invited all of his colleagues to his wedding.
Here, the lawmaker who has spent eight years working for what might seem far less controversial goals is the only openly gay member of the Idaho Legislature. Now with the session well under way and a gay rights bill again showing little sign of getting a hearing, the senator who has been its champion, Nicole LeFavour, plans to become the former only openly gay lawmaker in the Idaho Legislature.
Ms. LeFavour, 48, has decided not to seek re-election, for what she says is a very painful reason: she has had enough and she expects things to only get harder.
Apparently the state legislature's agenda is supposed to revolve around LeFavour's whims.
This year, the state is moving to closed Republican primaries, a shift that even Republicans say is causing some lawmakers to sharpen their conservative positions to preserve their seats. Ms. LeFavour has lost patience.
But not all hope is lost:
Ms. LeFavour will leave a legacy. This fall, Nate Murphy, a 22-year-old school board member from Pocatello who is openly gay and views Ms. LeFavour as a role model, is considered a strong candidate to win an open seat long held by Democrats. Mr. Murphy said that he had been “surprised by the disrespect” the gay rights bill had been shown by Republican leaders this year.
“If I end up getting elected,” said Mr. Murphy, who would assume the role of the only openly gay lawmaker in the Legislature, and the youngest, “that is certainly an issue I’ll fight for."