HRC Blog

Municipal Momentum Continues: Pocatello, Idaho Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Post submitted by David McCabe, HRC Digital Media Intern

The city council in Pocatello, Idaho, passed a non-discrimination ordinance last night, protecting the LGBT community from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The measure passed 4-2.

This bill was considered and rejected in April, and last night’s council meeting contained lots of debate.  Two bad provisions of the bill were stripped out before the final vote: one would have required that access to bathrooms and locker rooms would be determined by an individual’s official ID; the other would have exempted businesses with five or fewer employees.  There has also been debate over a section that would create an exemption for those who discriminate on the basis of their religious beliefs.

The city of Pocatello has just over 54,000 residents and is home to Idaho State University. Yesterday, The Advocate published an interview with Tom Nestor, who helps to run a center for LGBT youth in the city.

Pocatello is now the sixth city in Idaho (and the second this week!) to pass a non-discrimination ordinance.  All six cities have passed their ordinances in the last three years, and four of the cities have passed their ordinances since the start of 2013.  The state of Idaho does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Twenty-nine other states also lack these protections for LGBT people, and thirty-four states lack protections for transgender people.

These cities in Idaho reflect a movement that is happening at the local level across the country.  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 non-discrimination laws that protect their LGBT constituents.  HRC’s Municipal Equality Index demonstrates the ways that many cities can – and do – serve the LGBT people who live and work in those cities. 

Read the Municipal Equality Index report here, and click here to see the detailed scorecards for the 137 cities the MEI rated in 2012.  The 2013 Municipal Equality Index is rating 291 cities and will be released this fall. 

To learn more about federal legislation to stop employment discrimination against LGBT people, visit the HRC Resources on ENDA, or take action by calling on your United States Senator to end workplace discrimination now.

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