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Eye On Boise

‘Add the Words’ hearing wraps up, vote set for morning

This afternoon’s hearing on HB 2, the anti-discrimination bill regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, went about 40 minutes past its scheduled 5 p.m. cut-off. "We do appreciate your participation in the process, and we do sincerely want to thank you for being here," House State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher said. He said the committee will convene in the Lincoln Auditorium tomorrow morning at 8. The sponsor of the bill will make a closing statement, "and we will have debate and a vote on the bill."

This afternoon, 36 people testified, all but four strongly in favor of the bill. They included gay and transgender Idahoans of all ages, parents of gay and transgender children, co-workers and friends, siblings, college students, military veterans, business owners, religious people, activists, nervous folks speaking in public like this for the first time, people of various political persuasions.

Caleb Hansen said he’s a Republican. “The issues before this committee are not of a partisan nature,” he said. Ty Carson told the committee, “Thank you for your patience in hearing nine years of testimony.” Laura Doty said, "I was fired when they found out I was a lesbian. I called the Idaho Human Rights Commission. They told me they could not do anything because I was not in a protected status. ... I was a decorated police officer. ... I was fired for no reason more than that I was a lesbian. ... I was completely dehumanized. HB 2 says I am a human, I am a human. Please pass this bill. Find it in your hearts to protect people like me who do nothing but want to work."

Here's the final tally on the testimony: 190 people testified over the three days. Of those, 134 spoke in favor, 54 spoke against, and two were neutral.

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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