Eye On Boise

Testimony: 'Give them hope,' 'How do you put a price on your child's life?'

Gretchen Bates, middle, listens as Nicole LeFavour addresses District Judge Michael Oths in the Ada County Courthouse during sentencing for Add the 4 Words Idaho protest arrests earlier this year, on Monday, July 21, 2014. LeFavour and 22 other defendants pled guilty and were given community service and a fine. (AP/Idaho Statesman / Kyle Green)
Gretchen Bates, middle, listens as Nicole LeFavour addresses District Judge Michael Oths in the Ada County Courthouse during sentencing for Add the 4 Words Idaho protest arrests earlier this year, on Monday, July 21, 2014. LeFavour and 22 other defendants pled guilty and were given community service and a fine. (AP/Idaho Statesman / Kyle Green)

Madelynn Lee Taylor, a 74-year-old Navy veteran and one of the arrested protesters, was called next. She recounted how she and her wife have been denied permission to be buried together at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery because Idaho doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages. She said she decided to participate in the protests. “They had already put stickers up in the Capitol, and then they got a law that said you can’t put stickers up in the Capitol,” she said, drawing a laugh. “All of you in grade school used to take the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. How does it end? Liberty and justice for all. And we don’t have justice for our gay and lesbian people. The kids are dying out there. We need to give them hope.”

Gretchen Bates, 67, pictured above at center, who described herself to the court as “straight, white, a mom, and most importantly a grandma,” and also an educator and Idaho resident for 28 years, said she protested because “it’s the right thing to do, and I know so many of my friends have been discriminated against and don’t feel safe.” She said her best friend’s son Matt and his partner jumped to their death from the Perrine Bridge as a result of discrimination. “We’re 9 years too late for some children - it should have been done nine years ago,” she said. “I’m so afraid that … more children will die. … Adding four words, how simple is that? We talk about the cost of things, but how do you put a price on your child’s life? You can’t.” 




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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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