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Eye On Boise

Debate: ‘Sincerely held religious beliefs,’ ‘There are predators’

Among comments from committee members on HB 2:

Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, said, “When I was asked in a public forum if I would support ‘Add the Words, I said no. And I believe in this process that your word is your bond, and that when you make a promise, you keep that promise.” He said, “Definitions do matter, words do matter. If you’re going to add words, we need to know what those definitions are. … Lawyers love it when you do not define things. … If we’re going to add the words or talk about adding the words, they need to know what is sexual orientation, or what is gender identity.” He said, “There is a tension between someone’s rights based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and another’s rights based on their sincerely held religious beliefs. I do not believe that HB 2 as it’s written will solve that tension.”

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “There’s no question but the testimony here is heartbreaking. I can’t deny the compassion that is stirred in me listening to these stories, and I certainly feel no animosity to anyone in the LGBT community. There’s no question in my mind that persecution, violence and abuse against the community, or any community, it needs to stop. Criminal behavior needs to stop. Laws haven’t stopped that behavior. A change of the heart, of each heart, has to happen to stop criminal behavior, and to date throughout mankind that hasn’t happened.” He said “You have to recognize that in crime there are predators, and those predators will use anything they can use.” He said ensuring equal access to public restrooms for transgendered people isn’t a problem “unless you’re a predator, and can use the loophole to continue your behavior.”

Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said he believes in the golden rule, treating others and you’d want to be treated yourself. “The only way that’s going to happen is when everybody’s mom and dad teaches their kids proper, proper attitudes toward everyone,” he said. “Now the Savior went on further and he at the Sermon on the Mount reinforced all of that.” He said he heard nothing about the Add the Words issue during his campaign. But now, he said he’s hearing from people in his district. “It’s running over 9-1 against,” he said. 

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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