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Idaho GOP Leader Supports Gay Rights Bill, Gets Censured by Party

By Michelle Garcia

The chairman of the Latah County, Idaho, Republican Party has been censured by members of his party for voting in support of an antidiscrimination law as a Moscow City Council member.

Party precinct committee members voted 7-6 to censure Walter Steed for voting in favor of a law that would make it a misdemeanor offense to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The City Council passed the law unanimously April 1.

Steed is currently on vacation in Europe, the Associated Press reports.

"That policy legitimizes stuff that we don't agree with, and it forces people who don't support that kind of behavior to go along with it," said Gresham Bouma, a committee member. "It opens people up to lawsuits that they otherwise wouldn't be open to."

The censure followed a no confidence vote after Steed supported a letter from the City Council to the Idaho state legislature with suggestions for preventing gun violence. Steed's term as chairman lasts through May 2014. He has said he will not resign.

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