Pocatello, Idaho, is on track to become the state’s second city to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. The city council there is drafting an ordinance to protect gays and lesbians in matters of housing and employment.
Unlike neighboring Washington and Oregon, Idaho does not list sexual orientation or gender identity as a protected class, like race and religion. And Susan Matsuura says that’s had an effect on Pocatello’s small, but present, gay community. As head of the city’s Human Relations Advisory Committee, Matsuura says a few people have told her they’ve been fired or evicted, and many others say they take precautions.
Matsuura: “People who are doing their best to hide their living situation, and who brought in extra furniture and made it look like they were just roommates … I mean, I wouldn’t want to have my comings and goings scrutinized by my neighbors.”
The Pocatello city council voted unanimously to move ahead with an anti-discrimination ordinance like one passed in Sandpoint, Idaho, last year.
Pocatello is located in southeast Idaho, which is typically conservative and heavily Mormon. But little opposition to the ordinance has emerged.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network