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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘No longer live in fear,’ ‘I was afraid I would lose my job,’ ‘We cannot legislate kindness’

More testimony from today’s HB 2 hearing:

Nick Dumas of Nampa spoke on behalf of “Integrity Idaho,” a religious organization that backs HB 2. “Everyone should be welcomed equally within our beautiful state,” he said. “All of Idaho’s citizens deserve every protection possible. … It is our hope and prayer that very soon all citizens of our great state will have and enjoy equal protection and that our GLBT brothers and sisters will no longer live in fear.”

Mey Rude, a transgender woman from Pocatello, said, “It’s hard not to have your basic humanity recognized by your fellow Idahoans. … The knowledge that my state and my government refuse to even protect me or even acknowledge my basic humanity is what kept me in the closet for so long. … I was afraid I would lose my job, that I would be unable to find a new one. … We already have so much going against us, we don’t need our own home state to go against us too.”

Robert Steele of Boise spoke against the bill. “You see, this law will not create the equality in our society that we seek,” he said. “One of my brothers is gay and one of my best friends is also gay. We have very strong relationships, I love them, I want only the best for them, and my feelings run very, very deep in regards to rights for all.” But he said in California, protections for transgender young people are allowing kids to go into the opposite-sex bathrooms at their schools without being questioned. “What about the teenage girl who doesn’t appreciate a boy in her locker room?” he asked. “What rights does she have?” He said, “We cannot legislate kindness. … Idahoans know how to treat each other with respect and dignity.”

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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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