The Montana House on Tuesday approved a
bill that would repeal a gay protections law in Missoula, the state's
second largest city.
Republican Representative Kristin
Hansen's bill cleared a key House panel on Monday.
If approved, the measure would
effectively overturn Missoula's 2010 ordinance banning discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (transgender
protections) by prohibiting local governments from enacting
protections beyond those in the state's Human Rights Act, which does
not include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Sixty GOP members united to approve the
bill. Seven Republican members crossed the aisle to join all 32
Democrats in opposing its passage, the Missoulian reported.
The bill faces a final House vote
before heading to the Senate.
Harris Himes of the Montana Eagle Forum
told lawmakers that he opposed Missoula's ordinance for “religious
reasons,” the Billings Gazette reported.
“It is God himself who says that
homosexuality is an abomination, and he has various punishments for
that, too,” said Himes, a pastor at Big Sky Christian Center in
Hamilton. When asked for an example, Himes quoted Leviticus saying
that gay people “surely shall be put to death.”
Other opponents railed against the
law's protections for transgender people, suggesting that the law
placed women and children in danger.
“This law in Missoula means that a
person with a penis can now go into the showers where the people with
vaginas have gone,” Dallas Erickson of Montana Citizens for Decency
through Law said.