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Tuesday, October 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘I have been discriminated against in this state,’ ‘Special rights to some at the expense of others’

Audience at Monday's hearing on HB 2 (Betsy Russell)
Audience at Monday's hearing on HB 2 (Betsy Russell)

In continuing testimony at today’s public hearing on the “Add the Words” bill, HB 2:

Emilie Jackson-Edney of Garden City told the House State Affairs Committee, “Look into your hearts and into your humanity to include Idaho’s gay and transgender population in the Idaho Human Rights Act. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.” A retired civil engineer and construction manager, Idaho National Guard veteran, and transgender woman, Jackson-Edney said, “I’m a second-generation son and daughter of this state. … I attempt to live by the Golden Rule.” She said, “The sad reality … is that I have been discriminated against in this state. … There are no anti-discrimination protections for someone like me in the Idaho Human Rights Act. I have no avenue of recourse against discriminatory acts against me, and neither do my brothers and sisters.”

Laura Bunker, president of Arizona-based United Families International, told the lawmakers, “Non-discrimination laws like this do seem reasonable but they are not. They give special rights to some at the expense of others. They harm our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion.” She cited the cases of a Washington florist and a New Mexico photographer who declined to serve same-sex couples getting married. “In the end these non-discrimination laws are not fair to all,” she said. “Someone is ultimately discriminated against.” Bunker said, “Our citizens already know how to live together without a special law. ... Why would Utah, or Idaho, sorry, want to put that kind of wedge between its citizens?” 




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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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