More than 125 people filled the Idaho Falls City Council chambers on Sept 12 for a marathon session of testimony leading to a vote on proposed anti-discrimination legislation. The city ordinance, which was approved on a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Jared Fuhriman, bans discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals in employment and housing, but not public accommodations.
According to the Idaho Falls Post Register
, the measure had its first public hearing in July, sparking hours of testimony and more than 200 emails to council members who both supported and opposed the measure. Thursday night’s testimony ran past 11 p.m.
Fuhriman at last broke a 3-3 tie to pass the Idaho Falls City Council’s ordinance, joining a handful of cities around the state—including Boise—which have approved legal protections for LGBT residents. Fuhriman cast the deciding vote after midnight. More than 45 people offered testimony and 180 people streamed the proceedings live from the city’s website.
“This is a significant ordinance, one of the most significant ordinances to come before us in the community,” Fuhriman told the Post Register
. “[It has been] important that we take our time and do it right. We want to make sure this is something we, today, can be proud of as we move forward.”
The original proposed ordinance included a section that would prevent discrimination in public accommodations, but was dropped Aug. 8 after council members said they needed more time to discuss the language.
Councilwoman Karen Cornwell made a motion to include the public accommodations language Thursday night, but her motion failed on a 2-4 vote.