Montana Momentum: Lawmakers Block Dangerous Anti-Transgender Ballot Measure

By Adam Polaski • March 27, 2017 • 6:39 pm

Today, March 27, the Montana House Judiciary Committee defeated a bill calling for a statewide ballot initiative that would have prohibited transgender individuals from using the restroom that matches their gender identity. House Bill 609 would have also allowed citizens to sue businesses and entities that do not prohibit transgender individuals from using the restroom that matches the gender they live as everyday.

The 11-7 vote comes after a strong coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations across the state rallied against the discriminatory measure.

Matt McTighe, Executive Director of Freedom for All Americans, said today:

“Today’s outcome is a huge victory for transgender Montanans and is a testament to the bipartisan coalition that united against the measure. This misguided bill would have not only sanctioned discrimination against transgender people, but it would have damaged the state’s economy and reputation.”

Among those who opposed HB 609 was Ken Fichtler, the head of Republican Gov. Steve Bullock’s Office of Economic Development. Last week, Fichtler told the panel that the bill, like North Carolina’s HB 2, would have a detrimental impact on the state.

“I would urge you to consider the very tangible result of even considering this legislation,” Fichtler told the House panel.

The Thursday hearing brought out dozens of supporters of transgender equality, including business leaders, transgender Montanans, and representatives from the city governments of Great Falls, Bozeman, and Missoula.

McTighe continued today: “Montana still has a lot of work to do before everyone everyone is treated equally and fairly under the law. We hope that lawmakers will work to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are protected from discrimination.”

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