FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2014
Victory for Equality in Pocatello, Idaho; Voters Uphold Non-Discrimination Ordinance for LGBT Community
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest Played Critical Role in Grassroots Organizing Efforts to Ensure All Pocatellans Are Protected from Discrimination
Pocatello – Advocates for equality across Idaho celebrated election results in Pocatello on Tuesday evening, where voters upheld their city’s non-discrimination ordinance making it illegal to discriminate against people for being gay or transgender in the areas of employment, housing, and public places. Results from the Bannock County Elections Office showed the repealing Proposition One failing 49.5% to 50.5% – a margin of 90 votes.
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest (PPVNW) played a critical role in Fair Pocatello, the successful campaign to support fairness and oppose Proposition One, most notably by providing its Campaign Manager. Additionally, PPVNW served as a leader on the coalition table, recruited numerous volunteers, and provided support with dozens of like-minded volunteers calling into Pocatello from all over the state.
If Proposition One had passed, LGBT Pocatellans would no longer have been protected from discrimination, meaning they could have lost their jobs or their housing simply for being gay or transgender. It would have also created a slippery slope similar to the defeated legislation HB 427, giving employers or business owners the legal right to discriminate against customers or employees for a whole host of reasons. The Hobby Lobby case before the U.S. Supreme Court takes the same basic principle and super-sizes it for the entire country.
PPVNW believes that reproductive rights are deeply connected to LGBT rights and has been a regional leader on the issue of equality to ensure women, men, and young people can lead healthy lives, no matter who they are and no matter where they live. PPVNW served as a leader of the coalition that passed Washington state’s marriage and domestic partnership initiatives in 2012 and 2009, respectively. Additionally, PPVNW has been central to the Add the Words coalition in Idaho working to pass non-discrimination protections at the state level.
Statement from Hannah Brass Greer, PPVNW Idaho Public Affairs Manager and Legislative Director:
“The victory in Pocatello for equality and fairness is a resounding message to the rest of the country: it’s time to provide non-discrimination protections everywhere and for everyone. Seven cities and dozens of businesses in Idaho have already paved the way by passing non-discrimination rules, and now our elected officials in the legislature must do the same.
“Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest was proud to provide support in Pocatello, but this victory truly belongs to the dozens of grass roots organizers and volunteers who gave up their free time over the past several months to knock on doors, make phone calls, and connect with their friends and neighbors. This was Pocatello’s values, Pocatello’s ordinance, Pocatello’s campaign, and now it’s Pocatello’s triumph.
“The message to business owners and politicians is clear: voters do not want businesses to have a free pass to discriminate. Instead, we want basic protections under the law to ensure all people – not matter where they live or work – are treated with dignity and respect. Most people agree that if you open your doors to the general public you don’t get to pick and choose who you serve; similarly, if you are a corporation and you hire and serve the general public, you shouldn’t get to pick and choose which laws to follow.”