After more than six hours of public testimony and debate, Pocatello's city council passed a non-discrimination ordinance early Friday morning. The new law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] people from housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination.
This makes the eastern Idaho city the latest in a wave of local governments to vote for a so-called "add the words" law, in absence of the state Legislature's inaction. Currently there is no statewide protection of this kind.
At the beginning of the meeting, the ordinance that was being considered included a clause that angered some people who testified. This clause would have required that the gender marker on a person's state-issued ID match the public bathroom or locker room they use. Opponents dubbed it the "ID to pee" exemption and said it would allow for discrimination against transgender people. In the end, an amendment was made that removed the controversial exemption.
According to the Idaho State Journal, one councilman attempted to postpone any vote on an ordinance last night. But those attempts failed, and the final vote after amendments were made was 4-2. Councilman Steve Brown's decision to change his vote in favor of an ordinance in the final hour made the difference. Pocatello failed to pass a similar measure in April.