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Idaho town’s LGBT non-discrimination law to face ballot referendum

Idaho town’s LGBT non-discrimination law to face ballot referendum

POCATELLO, Idaho — Opponents of a recently passed LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance have gathered the required signatures to force a May 2014 referendum in hopes voters in Pocatello, Idaho, will repeal the measure.

PocatelloOfficials with the Pocatello City Clerk’s Office said last week that organizers submitted 1,671 verified signatures — 251 more than needed to put the matter to a vote, reported the Idaho State Journal.

Pocatello resident Ralph Lillig, one of the organizers behind the petition, said he hopes voters will repeal the ordinance because he says there are already enough state and federal regulations in place to protect people from discrimination

“This has been unfolding for more than a year and there is an emotionalism in this, a disunity of community and a disruption of community. It has caused so much discontent for so many reasons for so many people,” Lillig said, adding that he thinks the matter should be put to a public vote.

“This is too big to be decided by four people on the City Council,” he said.

Idaho’s Republican lawmakers have repeatedly refused to expand the state’s Human Rights Act to protect LGBT people from job and housing discrimination, prompting local municipalities to enact their own laws.

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The Pocatello ordinance, approved by the city council by a vote of 4-2, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations such as restaurants and stores.

When the measure was approved on June 6, Pocatello became the sixth city in the state to enact an anti-discrimination ordinance. (Idaho Falls became the seventh when it enacted a similar ordinance in September.)

Other Idaho cities that have adopted similar laws are Boise, Sandpoint, Ketchum, Moscow and Coeur d’Alene.

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