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Watch: Fierce Debate Over LGBT Civil Rights Bills in Montana


Testimony at Montana's legislature got ugly yesterday over a proposed bill that would kill Missoula's anti-discrimination ordinance and prevent local municipalities in the state from enacting similar ordinances, instead forcing them to recognize state laws, which currently don't recognize LGBTs.

A separate bill would expand the state's law to include LGBTs.

The Missoulian reports:


Social conservatives supported a bill Friday to nullify Missoula's ordinance that protects residents from discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender, while human rights advocates lined up against it.

At issue was House Bill 516 by Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre, to prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances or other policies like Missoula's that include, as a protected class from discrimination, any groups not included under the Montana Human Rights Act.

The other bill, HB514, by Rep. Edie McClafferty, D-Butte, would expand the Montana Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. This time, human rights groups testified for that bill, while social conservatives opposed it.

HB516 is similar to a bill being considered in Tennessee, which our legal expert Ari Ezra Waldman wrote at length about earlier this month.

Said Hansen: "I believe that the Montana Human Rights Act pre-empts the city of Missoula from doing this (enacting its own LGBT anti-discrimination statute)."

Harris Himes (pictured), with Montana Eagle Forum, called homosexuality an "abomination" and suggested that the punishment is death.

Watch a report on the hearings from Montana's KFBB and listen to some of the disgusting testimony, AFTER THE JUMP...

And listen to a report from Montana Public Radio's Emilie Ritter.

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  1. I bet they go to bed every night and pray that their sky faerie protect their heaven sent right to discriminate agaist the icky queers.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Feb 19, 2011 11:14:35 AM

  2. The only abomination is that hair of his. give up the delusion already!

    Posted by: Mark | Feb 19, 2011 11:34:59 AM

  3. Wasn't Romer v Evans supposed to put an end to this kind of blanket discrimination and denial of rights?

    Posted by: RWG | Feb 19, 2011 12:13:33 PM

  4. A lot of allies travelled long distances to give testimony-and were, for the most part, derailed by the GOP majority. But our voices will be heard.
    Hopefully, more press will shine a light into this scary, dark cave called the MT Legislature.

    Posted by: D Gregory Smith | Feb 19, 2011 12:18:01 PM

  5. I wonder how many other minorities would accept being EXCLUDED from the Constitution and still pay their taxes year after year after year? Are we Americans or NOT?!

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” ~ United States Constitution; 14th Amendment, Section 1

    Posted by: Gay Tax Protest | Feb 19, 2011 12:37:14 PM

  6. I'm not sure which offends me more: the fact that republicans still call themselves "conservative" when they are becoming the more radical political party in America or the fact that they want to abolish the Declaration of Independence. It clearly states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." I cannot believe that the GOP really want to return control of this country to the king (or queen) of England. That reverses everything this country is suppose to stand for.

    Posted by: Garst | Feb 19, 2011 3:53:14 PM

  7. The Radical Religious Right (RRR) is pushing a similar bill through committee in the Kansas Legislature now. They introduced the hateful bill the day after Manhattan City Council passed a discrimination protections ordinance. The conservatives are worried about sharia but the RRR is pushing the same crap! Democracy not Theocracy!

    Posted by: BornThisWay | Feb 19, 2011 4:08:30 PM

  8. Those "small-government" Republicans sure like to use big-government tactics and religious bigotry to meddle in our lives. Yet they pretend it's about the economy . . . liars.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 19, 2011 4:39:01 PM

  9. This is 2011 in America, not 1933 in Germany... (or is it?).

    Posted by: ron | Feb 19, 2011 5:17:42 PM

  10. Remember these moments when state law makers say jobs or the economy are very important. These moments show their true colors.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 19, 2011 5:24:49 PM

  11. It's simply coming to the point where rogue ideology gets put into play simply because these elected officials aren't interested in governing- they're interested in pushing theological positions and legislating morality.
    Like radical Islamists.

    Posted by: D Gregory Smith | Feb 19, 2011 7:52:24 PM

  12. We need to protest the injustice of this country. Even today, the USA mistreats gays and lets others take away their rights and happiness.

    Posted by: JJ | Feb 19, 2011 9:28:15 PM

  13. We have to get out in streets, as in WI, as
    in Egypt. These repugs scare me. When in hell is America going to wake up. The
    nazi repugs are marching to kill us. What
    an awful Sunday this is...

    Posted by: terryp | Feb 20, 2011 12:40:13 PM

  14. What discusted me the most was the smile Harris Himes put on his face when he said the words "put to death". Frightening.

    Posted by: Michael | Feb 20, 2011 4:52:37 PM

  15. So Mr. Himes, suppose as an atheist, I won't hire or rent to religious believers based on religious grounds. Will you support amendment of the law to allow me that freedom too?

    (Of course he wouldn't.)

    Posted by: Brian | Feb 20, 2011 6:18:58 PM

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