Pocatello unveils new LGBT Nondiscrimination Ordinance



Members of the Pocatello City Council discussed a newly drafted ordinance aimed at reducing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression during their working session this morning.

The purposed ordinance comes on the heals of the defeat of a similar measure by the city council last month. Some say the new ordinance, which was drafted at the request of Mayor Brian Blad who cast a tie breaking no vote for the previous proposal, takes a more moderate stance on the issue.

According to a draft published in the meeting agenda, the new ordinance recognizes that,”every person has a sexual orientation and a gender identity/expression”,  it also acknowledges that discrimination against such classes in cases of employment, public accommodation and housing could and does occur, but it narrows the definitions of what exactly constitutes such discrimination. It also broadens the scope of who is exempted from following the ordinance.

One of the major concerns for supporters of a antidiscrimination ordinance has been the outside influence of  Jacki Pick, a senior legislative adviser for Ethics and Public Policy Center. According to the EPPC website the organisation was “established in 1976 to clarify and reinforce the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral
tradition and the public debate over domestic and foreign policy

The  Idaho State Journal reports that,”Pick spent most of the day April 4 in meetings with city officials and sent a proposed new ordinance to Mayor Blad five days before the April 18 council meeting.” She also,”told council members that the ordinance needed more exemptions for possible enforcement if people objected on “religious grounds”, the Journal reported.  The Pocatello meetings mark the first major outside influence from a national conservative group on a LGBT anti-discrimination city ordinance in Idaho.

Blad’s vote against the previous ordinance has sparked a groundswell of support for former Mayor Roger Chase, who lost to Blad in 2009 and is once again seeking re-election. According to the Idaho State Journal, Blad “explained his decision, saying he was committed to developing an ordinance that will be supported by the entire community.” Chase, who has been supportive of LGBT issues in the past told the Journal,” issues surrounding the ordinance should have been resolved prior to the vote being taken.”

This morning’s meeting drew a strong turn out from supporters of a anti-discrimination ordinance. Many say the latest proposal is better than no ordinance at all, though some wonder just how much protection it will really offer. Four cities in Idaho have enacted LGBT anti-discrimination measures. Boise, Moscow, Sandpoint, and Ketchum have all banned LGBT discrimination within city limits.

You can read the new proposal HERE.

A Facebook page has been set up to help end LGBT discrimination in Pocatello. You can find that HERE. 

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