Boise City Council OKs anti discrimination ordinance

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The Boise City Council made history Tuesday night with the unanimous passing of an anti discrimination law that will give equal protection to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

Starting in January 2013 in Boise, no one can be discriminated against for their job, housing, or at local businesses because of their sexual orientation. The passing of the ordinance brought a standing ovation from the packed auditorium of supporters in the audience. There are exceptions made in the law for some private organizations, and religious institutions.

Every councilor and Mayor Dave Bieter spoke about why they were voting yest and the historical significance of the vote. Everyone said they were proud about the vote they cast and noted the positive effect it would have on the city.

Councilwoman Maryanne Jordan who was one of many working tirelessly to create the ordinance and bring it up for a vote. When it was her turn to speak she fought back tears while trying to describe what it would mean for the community.

"If this ordinance can serve to have children in our community to feel valued in our community in a way they may not have before," said Jordan. "To go away to school and to come home to a place that they love and know that they can thrive here as adults then I think we have done our civic responsibility."

During a public meeting back on November 13, councilors and Mayor Dave Bieter heard hours of testimony from those who were for and against the ordinance. People in favor talked about the fear of being fired or evicted if someone found our they were gay. Those against it expressed concerns over how it would be enforced, and who would qualify as a public business.

Councilman TJ Thomson talked about why this issue was so personal for him.

"Having been almost raised by my brother who is gay, and I was able to witness first hand those types of discrimination that do occur," said Thomson.

Thomson also said he doesn't feel this law gives anyone special rights but equal rights that everyone else gets to enjoy.

Some in the business community said they think this will be helpful to Boise by making it a place where everyone feels welcomed. During public comment one business person said the city could get more attention form outside companies as a deserve place.

Other cities have passed similar laws around the state, but with Boise being the largest city in Idaho supports of the LGBT community hope the issue will be brought up in the next legislative session.