The city of Ketchum has become the third city in Idaho to adopt a citywide non-discrimination ordinance that protects its LGBTQ residents. The Ketchum City Council unanimously passed the ordinance after a third reading during its January 22 meeting, and it will go into effect on January 30.
Ketchum, located 155 miles east of Boise and adjacent to Sun Valley, is the third Idaho city to adopt an ordinance prohibiting discriminatory acts in housing, employment, and public accommodations based upon sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. In north Idaho, the Sandpoint City Council passed an ordinance in December 2011, followed by the Boise City Council voting unanimously in favor of an ordinance just last month.
Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall, who has publicly expressed his support of the ordinance, said that for him, its passage is “simply put, the right thing to do.”
“I want Ketchum to be on the right side of history and I’m glad we did this,” Hall said. “We’re a very progressive community, and we decided to step up and take a leadership role on this. We want people to know that when you come to Ketchum, you’re not going to be penalized or punished because of your values or your belief system.”
Work at the city level to protect LGBTQ residents in Idaho has increased in the last year, following the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee’s decision in February 2012 to deny printing of a statewide bill that would have supported adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act. The ACLU of Idaho, a Pride Foundation 2012 grantee, has acted as a key player in the city ordinance education work statewide.
“The ACLU is delighted another city has taken the step to ensure fairness and equality,” said Monica Hopkins, ACLU of Idaho’s executive director. “We are pleased to help city leaders with research, legal expertise and answer any questions they may have, if they are interested in passing such an ordinance in their city.”
The City of Pocatello in the eastern part of the state has also started exploring the idea of implementing a citywide non-discrimination ordinance. Pocatello already has a non-discrimination employment policy in place for its city employees with language protection for both sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
The city councils of two other cities, Lewiston and Twin Falls, just last week also decided to adopt policies adding sexual orientation as a protection from discrimination at a municipality level only. Lewiston specifically added the language to its non-discrimination clause in city hiring practices, while Twin Falls included sexual orientation in its anti-harassment and discrimination policy for its city employees. Read more here and here.
Idaho, like much of the U.S., is rapidly evolving when it comes to issues related to LGBTQ equality. Pride Foundation is committed to providing regular updates of that work happening in our five-state region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
Credit to Pride Foundation– Steve Martin.