Last night the Idaho town of Pocatello (population 54,000) rejected a proposed ordinance that would have banned anti-LGBT discrimination in housing, accommodations, and employment.
An evenly divided Pocatello City Council voted 3-3 on a motion to approve the ordinance following another short public hearing on changes made since the ordinance was first proposed April 4. Voting for the ordinance were Eva Nye, Gary Moore and Roger Bray. Those opposed were Steve Brown, Craig Cooper and Jim Johnston. “Either way I’m going to be loved or hated by half this crowd,” Blad said before casting his vote against the ordinance. The April 4 meeting on the ordinance featured a lengthy hearing that drew 50 people who testified in support and 15 opposed. Before he announced his “no” vote, Mayor Blad explained to the crowd in City Hall that it was a difficult decision on his part. “I believe this has divided the community in half,” Blad said about the proposed ordinance. “I believe we can draft an ordinance that most people can accept.”
Similar legislation already exists in the Idaho towns of Boise, Sandpoint, and Moscow. Idaho Agenda reports an unsurprising angle to the Pocatello vote: “Reports suggest Heritage Foundation may have played a major role in tonight’s Pocatello anti-discrimination vote. This marks the first major national conservative influence on a local LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance in Idaho.” (Tipped by JMG reader Rick)