Idaho Falls city council added transgender public accommodations provisions to its anti-discrimination Ordinance passing it unanimously Thursday. The vote added public accommodations to the city ordinance passed in 2013 banning discrimination in housing and employment
Idaho Falls is one of about 16 municipalities in Idaho that have adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance banning some or all private businesses from discriminating against gay or transgender people, according to the Post Register.
The state Legislature at least partially inspired the ordinance with two bills it passed this year. One, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, a Republican who represents Idaho Falls, bared transgender girls and women from playing on female high school and college sports.
A federal judge ruled in August 2020 that transgender women and girls in Idaho cannot be banned from sports teams corresponding to their gender, blocking the Idaho law that attempted to do so.
The other, a law that specifically bars transgender people from changing their sex on their birth certificate to match their gender identity was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.
“I strongly believe that equal rights should be assured to everybody,” said City Councilman Jim Freeman. “Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender or anything else is a denial of basic human rights. This isn’t granting special treatment to anyone. It’s granting the same rights that everyone holds.”
Councilwoman Michelle Ziel-Dingman, who sponsored the change to the Idaho Falls ordinance, said the topic hadn’t been on her agenda until she was contacted by numerous constituents about those two bills.
“This is a constituent-led modification on my part,” she said.