Standing room only for Boise LGBT ordinance hearing

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - It was standing room only as the Boise City Council heard public testimony on a non discrimination ordinance that would protect people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

If passed it would make it illegal for someone to discriminate for housing, employment, or public accommodation based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It's currently legal in Idaho and several other parts of the country to discriminate on that basis.

After the legislature refused to even bring up the issue in the last legislative session, many in the LGBT community felt this was the best opportunity to tell their stories of discrimination and fearing for their jobs.

Constantly terrified of being found out and I needed this job," said Mistie Tolman who supports this measure. "worrying everyday that you might slip and actually tip someone off that you're gay is a burden that nobody should have to live with."

Others voiced concerns over the ordinance not because they didn't think people should be protected, but because they were worried about unintended consequences. Pastor Brain Merz of Boise said one of his church members runs a website company. He's worried that if he turned someone down based on the content of the site he could be hurt by the rules.

Some local business leaders support passing the ordinance. They say showing diversity and openness to all groups is attractive to several large businesses who might consider moving to Boise. They said having rules like this would help break some of the misconceptions some companies have about Idaho.

The ordinance has to be read two more times before it could be voted on December 4th. If passed it wouldn't go into affect until January 1st.