A Republican state lawmaker in Idaho voted against legislation to prohibit discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people — but appeared genuinely upset about the fate of the bill.
“My heart has been touched by this hearing,” said Rep. Linden Bateman of Idaho Falls. “I’ve gotten to know you, and I know from this point on — forever — I will be kinder and I will be more compassionate to those who bear a heavy burden.”
During 21 hours of public testimony, nearly 200 Idaho residents testified for and against the legislation. LGBT people shared stories of the harassment, discrimination and violence they faced because who they were.
“Somewhere in scripture it says that if we are not kind to the needy, and to the lonely, and to the afflicted, and to those who bear a heavy burden, our prayers will not be answered,” he continued.
“I will be kinder, and I will be more compassionate. While I will support the original motion [to block the bill], I’d like to go on record that I will support a compromise,” he concluded.
Members of the Idaho House State Affairs committee voted 13-4 along party-lines to block the bill from moving to the House floor for a vote. Republican lawmakers feared the bill would infringe on religious freedom.
The legislation, dubbed the “Add the Words” bill by supporters, would have added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to Idaho’s Human Rights Act, which currently bans discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion and national origin.
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