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Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 5, 2014, 9:01 A.M.

Testimony: ‘Necessary technical update,’ ‘Fight discrimination,’ ‘Codifies cruelty’

In more testimony on HB 427:

Julie Lynde, executive director of Cornerstone Family Council, was the first to speak in favor of HB 427 this morning. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you having this hearing, allowing this large crowd of people in our representative republic to come out and make their voices heard,” she said. “This is what America is all about.” She said, “The free exercise of religion is our first freedom, it’s the freedom on which all other freedoms rest.” She called the bill “a short, necessary, technical update to Idaho’s RFRA,” or Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 2000. “It allows Idaho’s RFRA to continue to reinforce freedom for everyone,” she said. The law has been on the books in Idaho “for 13-plus years, and there have been no problems,” she said.

Kathleen Durkin, a junior at Boise High School, spoke out passionately against the bill. She questioned whether her boss at Chick-fil-A should be able to fire her because of a religious conflict. “Maybe I’m just a naïve teenager, but I don’t believe this is what we should be doing in Idaho,” she said.

Chase Hutchinson, a senior at Wood River High School in Hailey, told the committee, “There is no current situation that requires this legislation. ... I hope to one day see a world where such a bill would never even occur. … I challenge you to fight discrimination, and for the sake of generations yet to come, I challenge you to vote no for HB 427.”

Susan Boland said, “This change in this bill codifies the cruelty that can so easily be inflicted on members of our society, and I would urge you strongly to vote against this bill.”

One person later, committee Chairman Tom Loertscher said, "We've gone through one page now of 21 pages."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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