“Can I See Your I.D.?”: Idaho’s Pocatello City rejects discriminatory bathroom I.D. provision in nondiscrimination ordinance

By Kaley Lentini, Task Force Holley Law Fellow

The Pocatello City Council voted 4-2 to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance at Thursday evening’s hearing and council meeting. The ordinance will provide protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people against discrimination when it comes to housing, employment and public accommodations. Pocatello is the sixth city in Idaho to enact an anti-discrimination ordinance.

The ordinance was successfully passed without a controversial bathroom provision that would have made it illegal to enter a bathroom that doesn’t correspond with the gender marker on your state issued ID. If adopted, the provision would have allowed others, including passersby, to ask individuals for their ID to ensure that people used the ‘correct’ restroom. The provision would have allowed anyone to be stopped from using a restroom or locker room simply because another person did not believe their gender matched the gender for which the facility was designated.

Multiple hearings about the ordinance gave community members an opportunity to voice their concerns. Many Pocatelloans stood up for equality and insisted the nondiscrimination ordinance protect all community members, including transgender residents. A local substitute teacher expressed the importance of removing the bathroom language from the ordinance. Grae Brennan told of her school district’s “policy that protects her against discrimination of her gender,” despite “numerous complaints from parents about dressing as a woman while teaching several classes.” The non-discrimination policy protects her in her place of employment, and she voiced support for the same protections in public facilities.

The Task Force alerted its supporters to the Pocatello City Council vote and urged them to contact Pocatello City Council members and Mayor Brian Blad to convey their concerns with the discriminatory ordinance.