By the time the Boise City Council gaveled its Nov. 13 session closed, the time was 11;05 p.m. and more than 300 citizens had witnessed more than 60 people testify overwhelmingly in favor of a proposed city ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
"It was an honor to be present here and listen tonight," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. "It's been an amazing night. You can't believe what it's like to sit here and listen to citizens. They did an incredible job."
On Oct. 24, Boise Weekly first told you about the proposed measure, formally known as Ordinance 3612, crafted by Boise Council President Maryanne Jordan and Council Member Lauren McLean.
"I truly believe that this is not only a civic responsibility but a moral obligation," said Jordan. "In particular, I want to thank you Mayor Bieter for appointing Council Member McLean to the Council," pointing to her co-sponsor.
"In addition to the rational thinking about this, I came to this issue as a mother," responded McLean. "It was important to me to embrace what I think is the truth."
Council Member Elaine Clegg said that "it's not too often that a council member can make a decision on something like this that can affect lives in such a profound way."
Council Member TJ Thomson, who mentioned an older brother who is gay as a mentor, called the Nov. 13 public hearing "the greatest display of participation since I've been on this council. No one should ever fear the loss of their job or denial of housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is not special rights. This is equal rights."
And Boise's newest council member, Ben Quintana, took note of the time.
"Look at the clock," said Quintana. "We've been here almost five hours tonight. Thank you for stepping up. I have never been as proud to serve as I have tonight."
Council Member David Eberle was absent from the Nov. 13 meeting but sent his support of the ordinance via email.
After two more formal readings of the proposed ordinance, the Boise City Council is slated to vote on the measure on Tuesday, Dec. 4.