Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, announced that a group working to find a compromise approach to protecting LGBT Idahoans from discrimination while also safeguarding religious freedoms won't be proposing legislation this year.

The group, however, has made "great progress" and "developed a workable framework for future discussion," to which he said he is committed.

"The risks of doing nothing are great on both sides," Hill said.

Hill penned an article that he called "a report on our progress," and sent it out to Idaho news media Wednesday.

"Discrimination is ugly and we condemn it," Hill said. "We want to send a message to all that bigotry and persecution are not tolerated by Idahoans. But concerns remain that affording protections to LGBT persons could jeopardize others’ religious freedoms and rights of conscience."

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The group needs more time to work toward a balanced approach, he said.

Last month, Sen. Maryanne Jordan, D-Boise, introduced a bill that would add protections based on "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the Idaho Human Rights Act. 

In a response to Hill's announcement, ACLU of Idaho policy director, Kathy Griesmyer, called for that bill to get a hearing.

"We call on the Pro Tem and other legislative leaders to move that bill forward and allow it to be scheduled for a public hearing," she said. "SB 1015 is the solution Idaho has been seeking and it deserves to be heard now.”

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