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Eye On Boise

LeFavour: ‘Real people are on the other end of this’

Rep. John McCrostie, D-Boise, told former Sen. Nicole LeFavour, “I want to congratulate you on finally getting your hearing after nine years. … Could you tell this body what it was that made you decide to bring forth legislation like this?”

LeFavour responded, “I don’t know if you can imagine what it’s like to be the state’s first openly gay elected official. I was the first gay person a lot of my colleagues thought they had ever met. … When I was first elected, many people didn’t think they’d ever met anyone gay. Not only that, but out around the state, people didn’t have a lot of people in their communities they could look to to have conversations about this. They didn’t know who to go to if they faced discrimination, if they had been the victim of a hate crime, or if their child had taken their life because he or she was gay. So when I was elected, I started to get phone calls.”

“Those are the phone calls that would have gone to the Human Rights Commission had there been the possibility that they could have dealt with those issues. But instead they called me. They called me when their kids took their lives. They called me when they were beaten in an alley. They didn’t always call the police. … Believe me, after eight years of that, and trying in every way to get all of you to try to help me do something about this, I knew it wasn’t an option just to do nothing. So Mr. Chairman and committee, I stand before you having tried with every fiber of my being to help you see why this matters, and that real people are on the other end of this, and that that balance between religious freedom and our lives is one that only you in your hearts can find the truth for.”

McCrostie responded, “Senator, I don’t know what it’s like to be the first openly gay legislator, but I know what it’s like to be the second.” Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, asked LeFavour if she’s imagined what it would be like tomorrow if the committee approves the bill.

“I think there would be a lot of people who would go to work the next day with less fear,” LeFavour said. “There would be a lot of young people who’d been considering taking their lives who might have more hope.”

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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