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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

In wake of HB 2’s defeat, mourning, compassion, talk of possible compromise…

Solemn backers of legislation to protect gays from discrimination stand in a statehouse hallway in silent protest after the bill was killed on a party-line vote (Betsy Russell)
Solemn backers of legislation to protect gays from discrimination stand in a statehouse hallway in silent protest after the bill was killed on a party-line vote (Betsy Russell)

After this morning’s straight party-line vote to kill HB 2, the “Add the Words” bill people on both sides of the issue were reflective. Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, a sponsor of the bill said, “We are in a period of mourning – we’re going to have to mourn. But also we’re going to celebrate that the voices were heard, we’re going to celebrate. I see that there’s a lot of compassion. I felt that coming through. … I think our discussion will be more robust, and I am really hopeful that it will happen this year. Our greatest hope is that whatever legislation comes does not make the LGBT second-class. We’re going to mourn a little bit, and then we’re going to be re-energized.”

She said, “It’s not just the LGBT. Most in our communities want to see everybody treated with dignity and justice. That’s how it should be.”

Julie Lynde, executive director of the Cornerstone Family Council and a leading opponent of the bill, said, “I think we all need a little time to rest. I think the hearts of the committee members were really on display today. I think everyone who testified was very brave on both sides of the issue, because you do open yourself up for criticism. … I would like to see us all be more kind and compassionate and loving, regardless.”

Asked about Rep. Linden Bateman’s comment that he’d support a compromise, Lynde said, “I don’t know if there is a compromise. I would certainly sit down and discuss it. But religious freedom and rights of conscience for every Idahoan must be protected in any legislation that comes up. Once a government can coerce somebody to violate their deeply held religious beliefs, every citizen’s liberty is at risk.”

More than 50 backers of the bill stood along a statehouse hallway outside the meeting room in silent protest after the bill was killed, standing with their hands over their mouths, the same stance that protesters took last year in demonstrations calling for a hearing on the bill. This year's intense, three-day hearing followed nine consecutive years in which lawmakers refused to grant the bill a hearing.  




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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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