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Montana anti-gay bill fizzles in state Senate due to lack of support

Sunday, March 27, 2011

HELENA, Mont. — A bill in the Montana state legislature that would overturn a Missoula city ordinance that protects gay people from discrimination, was pulled from the Senate floor last week because it lacked support from GOP leadership.

The measure, House Bill 516, would prohibit local municipalities from enacting ordinances that include, as a protected class from discrimination, any groups not included under the Montana Human Rights Act — the Act currently does not include protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sen. Jon Sonju said he moved the measure back to committee because it doesn’t have the support of Senate leaders, and was doubtful the measure would make it back to the Senate floor.

The bill would have nullified Missoula’s 2010 ordinance that protects its LGBT citizens from employment, housing and other forms of discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It would also prohibit other Montana cities from establishing laws to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The bill passed in the state House on Feb. 22 by a vote of 60-39, and approved by the Senate Local Government Committee on March 18.

Rep. Kristin Hansen (R-Havre), the bill’s author, said it was necessary to stop Missoula and other cities from establishing their own criteria for protecting people from discrimination.

Hansen called the Missoula law protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination “an unconstitutional ordinance that infringes on the state’s authority.”

Opponents claim the bill is targeted against the gay community and interfered with local a government’s rights to govern itself.

“Localities have the right and the legal ability to go beyond the Montana Human Rights Act,” said the Montana Human Rights Network, in a statement last month. “The Montana Human Rights Act sets the floor. It does not set the ceiling. Cities have the authority to establish ordinances and policies that protect and value members of their communities that have faced a history of discrimination.”

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7 more reader comments:

  1. Did I read that right? It lacked support from the senate GOP leaders?

    Posted on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 10:32pm
  2. Yes, you did. Now watch as the GOP melts from within and loses completely.

    Posted on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 10:36pm
  3. Posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 12:27am
  4. Isn’t one of the next GOP pres candidates the first openly gay runner???

    Posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 2:15am
  5. Isn’t one of the next GOP pres candidates the first openly gay runner???

    Posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 2:15am
  6. Fred Karger, first openly gay candidate, announces run for President

    Posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 2:16am
  7. Not all repubs are bad. But good repubs face the spector of having their party kill them off in the primaries with right wingers who would make Attilla the HUn look progressive by comparison.

    happened here in MD, where our progressive `8 year republican congressman, Wayne Gilcrist was thown out at the primary, because he opposed the Iraq war. He was a seriously wounded veteran of Vietnam, a Marine volunteer.

    but with the draft dodger Bush at the head, the repugs threw him out. HIs Hun replacement lost the election in 2008, but wiht a campaign of lies and misinformation won big time in 2010.

    to the cheers of his previous good republicans in our state senate, who hated him for his utter extremist views.

    the guys father btw apparently workded for the Nazis in the death camps in Europe. and I’m sure he wasn’t giving good medical care to the victims of the nazis.

    If you think WWII ended with Nuremburg, think again.

    the lust for money and power is the root of all evil, and the goals of most republicans and their leadership.

    Most of whose leaders and blowhards eg limbaugh -4, Gingrinch – 3, Rove -2, shnow their moral values by the number of times they have protected Marriage by marrying and remarrying. 4, 3, 2.

    Posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 9:58pm