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Human Rights Collection

The Background

In the summer of 2012, the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations (KCTFHR) approached then Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem with a proposal for a city ordinance to protect the gay community from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. Mayor Bloem was supportive and suggested that the civil rights group proceed with their research of other cities’ anti-discrimination ordinances across the United states and also work with the legal team for the City of Coeur d’Alene.

After months of research by the KCTFHR of other cities’ ordinances and talks with the City of Coeur d’Alene Chief Attorney Mike Gridley, the city legal team prepared a draft ordinance. On the last week of May 2013, KCTFHR president Christie Wood and Board secretary Tony Stewart went before the Coeur d’Alene General Services Committee with testimony in support of the proposed ordinance. After hearing testimony from the supporters and opponents of the non-discrimination draft, the committee voted two to one to send the proposed ordinance to the full Coeur d’Alene City Council with a recommendation for passage.

On Tuesday, June 4, 2013 the Coeur d’Alene City Council chaired by Council President Mike Kennedy opened the hearing with testimony from the KCTFHR, the key sponsor of the proposed ordinance. KCTFHR Board members Christie Wood (president), Norm Gissel (attorney) and Tony Stewart (secretary) presented data indicating cases of discrimination against the LGBT+ in communities across America including within the state of Idaho. With an overflow crowd in attendance, the Council heard six-hours of testimony from supporters and opponents of the ordinance. At the end of the testimony, each council member gave comments before passing the Chapter 9.56 “Discrimination in Housing, Employment and Public Accommodations Prohibited”----Ordinance Chapter 9.56.010 (Ord. 3466, 2013) by a vote of five to one.