Boise's discrimination-ordinance meeting attracts hundreds
Any Boise employer or landlord may dismiss or deny an employee or tenant based on gender or sexual identity. If passed, a new city ordinance would change that. The city council and more than 300 members of the public met Tuesday to debate that change Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Any Boise employer or landlord may dismiss or deny an employee or tenant based on gender or sexual identity. If passed, a new city ordinance would change that. The city council and more than 300 members of the public met Tuesday to debate that change.
Chris Cooke is openly gay.
“When I was in college I received a death-threat," he said. "I was the president of the [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender student group] when our group on campus received a bomb threat.”
Chris arrived at the city council meeting early to guarantee he'd receive the chance to speak in favor of the city passing a non-discrimination ordinance.
“[The city council] has no lawful authority to do that," Lee Rice said. "That’s not [its] job.”
Rice also showed up promptly. But he came to testify against the ordinance.
“I’d like to have a law passed to keep people from calling me the n-word,” he said.
Rice said he objected not to homosexuality, but to the city operating out of its jurisdiction.
Tom Munds agreed with that, but also objected to the proposed ordinance because of his religion and interpretation of the constitution.
“If people want to engage in sodomy at home, go for it," Munds said. "But it’s got no business in government.”
The two members of Boise's city government sponsoring the ordinance cited as their goal a fair, safe and inclusive community and the economic impact they hoped that reputation might provide.
“[We need tp] let companies know this is an inclusive and safe place for their employees to be,” Councilwoman Maryanne Jordan said.
The state legislature declined to pass a similar law at a state level. But proponents of the so-called Add the Words campaign believe if passed, ordinances like the one considered in Boise Tuesday might convince state leaders to reconsider.
“One of the arguments [legislators have] used is their constituents don’t care about this matter," Add the Words Co-Chair Mistie Tolman said, "and I don’t see how they’ll be able to continue using that kind of an argument.”
Cooke, Rice, Munds and Tolman may not agree on much. But to an allegation they're indifferent to this issue? They'd likely agree their accusor pegged them very wrong.
The City Council voted unanimously in a preliminary vote to pass the ordinance.