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Wednesday, October 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Help us to be proud of living here,’ ‘Dictating to a private citizen what to believe’

More testimony from today’s hearing on HB 2, the “Add the Words” bill to amend Idaho’s human rights act to bar discrimination against gays:

Juli Stratton of Post Falls spoke on behalf of herself and her wife, Amy, a physician who couldn’t travel to the hearing. “I want to live in a state that fully values who I am and who will protect Amy and me from discrimination,” she told the committee. “I want to be evaluated on my job performance. … I want to be valued as a human being based on the person that I am, the person that my mother raised me to be. … Please include my wife and me as fully equal citizens of this state and help us to be proud of living here.”

Ken Connelly, attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, told the lawmakers, “The government has no business dictating to a private citizen what he is to believe and not believe, and HB 2 would do just that.” He said his group also represented a Washington florist who refused to arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding based on religious objections; other florists were available, he said. “Laws like HB 2 present hard-working business owners with an impossible choice,” Connolly said, requiring them to abandon their religious faith with regard to how to conduct their business, or suffer business and financial consequences. He also said he believes HB 2 would require all public restrooms and locker rooms to be “gender-neutral.” “Gender identity laws have been used as a ruse by men to enter young girls’ and women’s restrooms and locker rooms for illicit purposes,” he told the committee. 

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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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