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Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 15, 2006, 11:26 A.M.

The debate is on

The Senate has been debating the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment for the last hour and a half, and is well into the lunch hour. So when Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, got up just now to start his debate, he said, “I guess everybody thought they were going to lunch soon.” Not yet, anyway.

It’s been an interesting debate thus far. Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, who is of Samoan descent, noted that at one time, the law of the land would have prevented him from marrying his wife – because it would have been marrying outside his race. “If the civil rights act was placed before the people, do you think they would have voted for that?” he asked. In his experience at the time, he said, many that he knew would not have. “Let’s not let government get involved in discriminatory policy that divides this country,” Malepeai told the Senate. “The clergy can’t even agree on this issue. … Folks, let’s keep the morality of this issue with our religious institutions.”

Sen. Gerry Sweet, R-Meridian, told the Senate, “I’ve heard it over and over again and frankly I’m tired of it … the claim that this discriminates.” The amendment, he said, is designed instead to “help protect us against activist judges.”

Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, said, “We’re all free, free to do what we want within the laws of the land. Now is this an expansion of the law that’s going to take away freedom? No.” People can still enter into whatever private contracts they want, he said. “To tell people they’re wrong sometimes is the greatest freedom of all,” Corder told the Senate.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.