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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 14, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 24
Progress in Pocatello - Idaho city passes LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance
Section One
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Progress in Pocatello - Idaho city passes LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The City Council of Pocatello, Idaho, passed an ordinance forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity on June 6. After a six-hour Council meeting, the vote was 4-2.

The new ordinance protects people from discrimination in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations such as restaurants and stores.

'It's something we can be proud of in Pocatello,' said City Councilwoman Eva Johnson Nye. 'I think we made some good decisions tonight. It was a long time getting there, but we did the right thing. And we have citizens protected now, and that's a good thing.'

Idaho's fifth-largest city according to the 2010 census, Pocatello has just over 54,000 residents and is home to Idaho State University.

SOME PROVISIONS CHANGED
A previous version of the measure failed to pass in April, leading advocates to make several key changes in the legislation.

The most controversial provision, the so-called 'ID to pee' section, which stated that the gender specified on an individual's state-issued ID card would decide what restroom a person could use, was removed. The new ordinance does not state how restroom usage is to be determined.

A small-business exception, which exempted businesses with five or fewer employees, was also removed. That amendment came about after a citizen pointed out that almost 40% of Pocatello businesses have five or fewer employees.

Pocatello is the sixth Idaho city to pass legislation protecting LGBT residents. Other cities that have adopted similar rules are Boise, Sandpoint, Ketchum, Moscow, and Coeur d'Alene.

'These cities in Idaho reflect a movement that is happening at the local level across the country,' HRC said in a statement. 'Where states and the federal government have failed to act, municipalities have stepped up. More than 170 cities and counties across the country have passed nondiscrimination laws that protect their LGBT constituents.'

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