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

Testimony: ‘We are all human,’ ‘Implies that Idahoans are nasty people,’ ‘Precepts of God’

In continuing testimony today on HB 2:

A 16-year-old told the committee, “My legal name is Sawyer Johnson but I identify as Oliver Simon.” As a transgender teen, he said he was cornered in a women’s restroom at the age of 13 because of the way he dressed, “regardless of the fact that I was assigned female at birth.” He also was sexually assaulted within his church, he said. “I was told I should be punished because of my immorality, and my identity could be all right as long as I never acted on it. But identity is a basic building block of each of us and cannot simply be dismissed. … Being born and raised in Nampa, Idaho has taught me many thing about the values and ideas of our country. … We are all human.”

Doyle Beck said, “I’m somewhat offended that this bill has been introduced and is seriously being debated. It implies that Idahoans are nasty people. That we discriminate against our neighbors unless the government somehow intervenes and comes in to straighten us out. I’m not saying that discrimination doesn’t exist, but I am saying that it’s very minimal.” He offered an example of what he suggested the law could lead to, saying he’s heard of a “gentleman in New Jersey, that’s the reason he went to New Jersey, because it’s legal there, he’s planning on marrying his daughter.”

Parson Rayphe of Kooskia said, “I’m a Bible-based Christian pastor who affirms the teachings of Jesus the Christ.” He said, “Adding wording as proposed would violate the laws of America, Idaho state law, and most importantly, the precepts of Yahweh God himself.”

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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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