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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Without this bill, my son will not return to Idaho’

With time running out for this morning’s portion of the hearing on HB 2, people who passed up notes saying they couldn’t return this afternoon are being called up, but urged to be very brief. Among those speaking:

Michael Reineck told the panel he’s an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam, and his son interviewed Gov. Phil Batt as a 6th grader at Lowell Elementary for a school project. “What a state,” he said, where that can happen. “He graduated from Boise High, graduated from Columbia, and he’s one dissertation away from a Ph.D from Princeton. … But now, as a gay man, he will not return to Idaho to live. Why? He would not be secure here in his job and housing. Without this bill, my son will not return to Idaho.”

Jordan Brady told the lawmakers, “I know that you are tired, I’m tired too. I’m tired of having to take time off work and school to sit here. … I’m tired of being compared to a pedophile. … I’m tired of reading the news and hearing the news that another trans child killed themselves because their world was filled with so much hate. … This bill isn’t just about housing or jobs. This bill is about human lives.”

Deborah Ferguson, the lead attorney in the lawsuit that successfully overturned Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage, said, “One, this non-discrimination provision has been passed in many states and many cities in Idaho, and all have been successfully implemented. Two, I agree with the statement submitted to the committee by Brian Kane, deputy attorney general, the attorney general’s opinion of HB 2 and the conclusion of the attorney general that the bill does not force any clergy to marry same-sex couples and would not impair any Idahoan’s freedom of speech.” Third, she cited the recent poll commissioned by Zions Bank that found that two-thirds of Idahoans believe it should should be against state law to discriminate against gays, lesbians and transgender people in housing, employment and business. “This is the majority of Idahoans whom you represent,” she said. “I urge you to pass HB 2 … to reflect the views of a majority of Idahoans.”

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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