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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Exactly why this bill is needed,’ ‘Support civil rights,’ ‘Commissioned by God’

So far today, 17 people have testified on HB 2, the civil rights bill regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. The first six were against; the next nine were in favor, including two Presbyterian ministers, followed by two opponents.

The Rev. Marci Glass of Southminster Presbyterian Church told the committee, “Much of this testimony illustrates exactly why this bill is needed. ... While scripture says very little about sexual orientation, it says quite a lot about justice, about hospitality, and about welcoming the stranger.” She said, “It is not religious liberty to allow one group of people to cause pain and indignity to others in the workplace or in school because of how they interpret scripture. … I urge you not to let the continued warnings about the florists and cake bakers distract from the real issues here. None of the people speaking for this bill has asked for the freedom to sue florists. They want to be able to live freely and safely.”

Teresa Hammer told the lawmakers, “I’m nobody important, I’m just a stay-at-home mom. I’m here because I support civil rights.” She added, “Quite honestly, sometimes I’m embarrassed at things that come out of Idaho. But you do have the power to change that reputation.”

Kieth Blazor told of a violent attack in downtown Boise on himself and his lesbian roommate, in which the attackers shouted slurs aimed at gays; his roommate required facial reconstruction, and he suffered a broken rib and more. He said the incident, which couldn’t be reported as a hate crime because Idaho’s hate crime law doesn’t cover sexual orientation, helped prompted Boise’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

The Rev. Andrew Kukla told the committee, “I ask you to understand the vulnerability of our gay and transgendered citizens.”

Daniel Stone, a youth pastor from Twin Falls, said, “I stand in opposition to HB 2, and it is for this reason, I deal with kids who are not members of my church … whose parents are lesbian. I don’t have an issue as far as their choice, that’s not my choice to make. But I have been commissioned by God to preach the word of God. … That is my job. … I believe what I am standing for is right. … The compass for truth for our nation from its very founding has been the Bible.”

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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