COEUR d'ALENE - The next step is taking a breath.
A day after the Coeur d'Alene City Council adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance 5 to 1, Tony Stewart said the next move is, well, stopping and taking it easy.
"We've been getting a lot of calls and emails," said Stewart, Human Rights Task Force on Human Relations member, on Wednesday on the positive feedback he had received from the previous night's vote. "These things wind up being a great celebration."
And a lot of work.
Stewart, who brought the ordinance to the city to consider, said months of studying went into bringing it to Coeur d'Alene. It's not something that's jumped into.
Coeur d'Alene became the fifth Idaho city to adopt an ordinance that protects lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people from discrimination in areas of employment, housing and public accommodation.
But just because Coeur d'Alene did, the task force isn't ready to make a pitch to neighboring cities to do the same.
"It's a tremendous amount of work," Stewart said on bringing the ordinance forward. "You have to focus on one place at a time."
Some cities contacted by The Press Wednesday about adopting an anti-discrimination ordinance didn't comment, while others said they would cross that bridge if they got there. Dalton Gardens, Hayden, Post Falls and Rathdrum all said they don't have plans in the works for an ordinance.
"We will maintain our holding pattern and see what the future brings," Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin said.
Roger Saterfiel, president of the Hayden City Council, said the council hasn't been approached by anyone about the issue, but that turnout on Coeur d'Alene's ordinance made "quite a show, though, I see."
Nearly 400 people attended Tuesday night's five-hour debate at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. It passed rather easily in part because City Councilman Dan Gookin, who originally opposed the idea, researched the proposal more and voted to approve the ordinance. It passed 5-1.
The rule now prohibits people from denying service, housing or jobs to a person solely because of their sexual identity. Violation of the rule is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 fine. A mediation step is also involved in the process where the sides could work together. Fines could be as low as $100 then. The rule goes into effect Friday.
Coeur d'Alene took up the issue because the Idaho State Legislature failed to do so, the City Council said. For seven years the topic died in Boise.
In December 2011, Sandpoint was the first Idaho city to adopt an anti-discrimination ordinance. It did so more as a precaution than reaction to a specific event, said Scot Campbell, Sandpoint city attorney.
Since that time, Sandpoint has had one reported case, but the case was dropped as the alleged victim failed to follow through in reporting the alleged incident.
"I think they felt they needed to take the lead," Campbell said on the city being the first to implement it. "It just felt like something that needed to be done. Idaho should have taken it up as a state, but didn't."
Ketchum, Moscow and Boise have adopted similar ordinances. Ketchum and Boise's legal departments didn't return messages Wednesday. Pocatello will consider adopting an ordinance at 6 tonight.
Sandpoint's rule passed quietly, unlike in Coeur d'Alene, where the topic made the Wall Street Journal and launched lots of online chatter.
"It was completely different than what you guys went through," Campbell said. "It's under the radar, but it's there if somebody needs it."
Stewart said it's still too early to see if proposals will go before other towns.
Rathdrum Mayor Vic Holmes said he would listen to the proposal if it came his way. He said he thinks the topic is a state or federal issue, but "we've all taken oaths to treat everybody fairly and equally."
He didn't comment on Coeur d'Alene's decision.
"I never try to figure out what another municipality does," he said. "It's not my job or role to consider it right or wrong - that's between their citizens and their conscience."
Staff writers David Cole and Brian Walker contributed to this report.