Eye On Boise

Testimony: 'Anything but clear,' 'Legal cover for discrimination,' 'Hurt and dismayed'

House State Affairs Committee members listen to testimony on Wednesday morning (Betsy Russell)
House State Affairs Committee members listen to testimony on Wednesday morning (Betsy Russell)

More testimony from this morning’s HB 427 hearing:

Scott Nicholson said he’s read the bill. “This is anything but clear,” he said. “It’s going to lead to a whole ‘nother body of legal actions, in my opinion.”

Ben Earwicker, a professor at Northwest Nazarene University, said, “I strongly urge you to reject HB 427. This amendment provides legal cover for discrimination, so long as the discriminatory action may be presented to the courts as the free exercise of religion. … I believe that the proposed amendment is not only unnecessary, but wrong. I implore you to consider the potential impact of this amendment and reject HB 427.” He said he believes the bill conflicts with the U.S. Constitution. “Freedom of religion is not freedom to discriminate,” he said.

Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, asked Earwicker, “Are you here as a private citizen or are you representing the position of the university on this piece of legislation?” Earwicker responded, “I’m here as a private citizen.”

DeDe Shelton told the committee, “I’m the mother of a gay child that left this state for another state that embraces him and that he feels comfortable to be himself. … I am hurt and dismayed at this bill, and I want you to know that I’m worried about the schoolchildren that might have teachers who would discriminate against them, and all of us that might be labeled and not have services provided to us by police and firefighters and pharmacists.”

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Eye On Boise
Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

Follow Betsy online:




Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
(800) 338-8801
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801