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Eye On Boise

Hearing testimony resumes: ‘Protect pedophiles?’ ‘People of faith disagree’

Bob Compton of Midvale testifies against the
Bob Compton of Midvale testifies against the "Add the Words" civil rights bill for gays on Monday evening in the Idaho Capitol (Betsy Russell)

The hearing on HB 2, the civil rights bill to ban discrimination against gays, has resumed. The Lincoln Auditorium is full again. Here’s some of this evening’s testimony:

Bob Compton of Midvale said, “It has been argued that sexual orientation and gender identity are genetic just like skin color. They are not. … Sexual relations solely between male and male or between female and female, will never produce any offspring. … There’s no way those traits would ever be passed on.” He asked, “Will you also add the words to protect pedophiles who claim their innate desire for children is part of their DNA?”

Gregory Hamilton, president of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association in Richfield, Wash., said his group “champions religious freedom and human rights on behalf of the 7th Day Adventist Church and all people of faith.” The group worked with then-Sen. Grant Ipsen on Idaho’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act several years ago, he said. “No one should have to choose between making a living and their faith,” he said.  “What bona fide assurances can this legislative committee give that the state … will not compel religious institutions and religious people to go against their consciences when gender identity and sexual orientation claims seek to compete? If you cannot guarantee such, then we urge a no vote on HB 2.”

Bishop Brian Thom of the Episcopal Church of Idaho told the House State Affairs Committee, “People of faith disagree about the interpretation of the holy scriptures, both Christian and Hebrew.” He spoke out in favor of the bill. “The so-called references around homosexuality in scripture are ambiguous at best,” he said. “They take careful reading. They take contextual interpretation, as we’ve all done, all throughout history.” Thom said he’s concluded that homosexuality is “an innate, natural part of our humanity.” Americans will continue “having different opinions about faith in this democracy that we love,” he said. “People of faith are going to continue working this out.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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