Saturday, May 18, 2013

Journal: Mormon Church Arranged Lobbyist to Push Against LGBT Protections in Pocatello

Posted By on Sat, May 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM

The Idaho State Journal reports that the Mormon church arranged for a carefully-timed lobbying effort with Pocatello City Council members a few weeks prior to the lawmakers rejecting an ordinance that would have protected members of the LGBT community from discrimination.

The Journal reports that LDS Regional Public Affairs Director Larry Fisher convinced Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad and five Council members to meet with Jacki Pick of the American Religious Freedom Program. Pocatello city attorneys also met with the lobbyist. The Journal reports that the meetings were held over five sessions and no notes were taken.

Ultimately the Council split 3-3 on the Add the Words ordinance. Mayor Blad cast the deciding "no" vote, killing the proposal.

The Associated Press reports that the American Religious Freedom Program's website claims it combats "those voices in the national conversation that are increasingly negative about religious freedom and the role of religion in public life."

A new hearing on a revised ordinance is set for June 6.

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