Montana Senate panel tables bill that would create statewide LGBT protections

Montana state capitol in Helena. LISA BAUMANN [ap]

HELENA, Mont. — Montana lawmakers all in one day heard testimony, voted against and then tabled a bill that would provide protections for gay, lesbian, transgender and other people in the state.

Montana state capitol in Helena.

Montana state capitol in Helena.

Sen. Christine Kaufmann of Helena introduced Senate Bill 179 Friday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The openly lesbian Democrat told lawmakers the world is changing and the law needs to keep up.

Under the measure, the words “gender identity and expression and sexual orientation” would be added to the state’s Human Rights Act. The act currently bans discrimination based on race, creed, religion, color, sex, physical or mental disability, age or national origin in situations such as housing or employment.

The bill failed along party lines in the Republican-led committee by a 7-5 vote just after two hours of testimony.

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