BOISE -- Boise could be the second city in the state to implement a citywide non discrimination ordinance.
This year, the Idaho legislature failed to garner enough support to pass a similar piece of legislation that would protect all people living in Idaho against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
If the ordinance is approved, Boise will be only the second city in Idaho with a sexual orientation-focused anti-discrimination law on the books -- after Sandpoint.
“We are not espousing a certain dogma or pushing a political or social issue, we are really just saying that this is about equality and that everybody in the city needs to be treated the same,” said Boise City Council woman Lauren McLean.
Tuesday, the city council will begin a public conversation on an issue council woman McLean has wanted to talk about for awhile.
“I can tell you that I have been working on this for a year,” she said. “So it would have been great if we could have done this sooner, making policy takes a long time."
If passed, the ordinance would protect everyone living in the Boise city limits from being discriminated against for housing, employment and public accommodation based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
McLean says the city's economy depends on it.
“We are working very hard to attract the best and brightest employees and the best and brightest employers to the city and we need to be able to tell a story clearly in Boise, everyone is treated equally and this ordinance puts reality to paper,” she said.
If this ordinance becomes law, others with the same agenda say it will pave the way for the state to do the same.
“It’s nice to see these local elected officials stepping up to the plate when they see a need that isn't being met, obviously as it wasn't in the legislature last year,” said Misti Tolman, co-founder of the Add the Words Campaign.
Her group lobbied the Idaho legislature this year to pass a statewide anti-discrimination law.
“Now when we see this happening in cities around the state and them turning out in support of their ordinances it's going to be a lot harder to use that argument against passing some anti-discrimination legislation at the state level,” said Tolman.
If passed, council members say the first step in a discrimination suit would be mediation.
However, if that doesn’t work, offenders could face a $1,000 fine or jail time.
The council will hold their first public hearing on the non discrimination ordinance Tuesday.