Nearly 30 Percent Of Idahoans Protected By Local Gay Rights Laws

Apr 22, 2015

The city of Hailey will soon be added to a growing list of Idaho towns with non-discrimination ordinances that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Hailey's new law will take effect later this spring, and will ban discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. At that point, more than 450,000 Idahoans will be protected under one of these municipal laws. That's almost 30 percent of the state's population.

The Idaho Legislature failed to pass a statewide law of this kind earlier this year.

Here's an up-to-date list of cities with non-discrimination ordinances, in the order in which they were passed:

  1. Sandpoint: Dec. 21, 2011
  2. Boise: Dec. 5, 2012
  3. Ketchum: Jan. 22, 2013
  4. Moscow: April 2, 2013
  5. Coeur d'Alene: June 4, 2013
  6. Pocatello: June 6, 2013
  7. Idaho Falls: Sept. 12, 2013
  8. Victor: June 11, 2014
  9. Lewiston: Oct. 27, 2014
  10. Driggs: Jan. 6, 2015
  11. Hailey: April 20, 2015 (still requires final approval)

One of the people helping cities interested in passing these laws is Jess McCafferty of ACLU Idaho. McCafferty worked with Hailey city officials to craft an ordinance that is specific to the town's needs.

"Every city that passes an ordinance -- no matter how small -- is important because those people who did not have protections will now, and every Idahoan should be protected," says McCafferty.

But McCafferty says the growing number of city ordinances doesn't mean the Idaho Legislature is off the hook when it comes to passing a statewide anti-discrimination law.

"Because we are a rural state with lots of our population outside of major cities we need to make sure all our population is protected," she says. "We are creating many laws that are right for each city, but are hard to enforce across city lines."

Caldwell is another city that has considered passing a non-discrimination ordinance.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio