The city of Pocatello won't be joining other Idaho municipalities—like Boise, Moscow and Sandpoint—in extending better protections against discrimination for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.
The Idaho State Journal reports that Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad broke a 3-3 tie of the Pocatello City Council on Thursday, April 18, ultimately rejecting an ordinance that would have criminalized discrimination based on sexual orientation. Pocatello Council Member Craig Cooper said he voted against the measure because it was too punitive—the proposed ordinance would have made discrimination a misdemeanor, punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.
"I think there are people who are unaware of what's going on and it's just not a thing to criminalize, in my mind," Cooper told the Associated Press.
But this morning's Journal reports that an attorney for the conservative advocate organization, The Heritage Foundation, said she was able to "secure time in a City Council work session" prior to the vote, when she told Pocatello lawmakers that the ordinance would "violate the religious freedoms of some residents."
The Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973, has championed the Defense of Marriage Act to prevent gay marriage in the United States, and this past week attacked the bipartisan immigration reform bill currently being considered by the U.S. Senate.
According to the Journal, a modified anti-discrimination ordinance will be considered at a work session of the Pocatello City Council on May 9.