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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Remember the stories,’ ‘It’ll happen in the private sector,’ ‘Society is evolving’

Nicole LeFavour urges the House State Affairs Committee to pass the
Nicole LeFavour urges the House State Affairs Committee to pass the "Add the Words" bill, HB 2, at a hearing on Wednesday at the state Capitol (Betsy Russell)

Among the 18 people who have testified this afternoon on HB 2, the “Add the Words” bill, 14 in spoke in favor, three against, and one was neutral. Among those testifying:

Nicole LeFavour, who was Idaho’s first openly gay state legislator, told the committee, “The question before you is a fairly simple one, and the people of Idaho are looking to you, and the vote you make tomorow morning with a question, and that question is will it be acceptable in the state of Idaho to fire, evict and refuse service to gay and transgender people in our state. … You will make a decision as to whether this state will say the harm that you’ve heard today is acceptable or not. I ask you when you make that vote that you remember the stories, of the people who have struggled in this state to work hard, to be judged by their work performance and qualifications, and to live on with some hope that the world will become a better place for them. … I hope that you hold these stories with you ‘til then, and you realize that the state is waiting to know what your answer is.”

Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, spoke out against the bill. “If you don’t pass HB 2, this discussion of discrimination, how to stamp it out, will still happen, and it’ll happen in the private sector,” he said. “This is an evolving area that can be addressed by the free market.”

Julie Hoefnagels cited “a clear parallel with the other great civil rights issues of our age,” saying, “Biblical passages were cited in support of all those unjust situations.” She said, “On the topic of homosexuality, Pope Francis recently said, ‘Who am I to judge?’ Society is clearly evolving. We should accept this, and focus on the fact that some within our society, the LGBT, are still being denied basic human rights.”

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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