A bill that would repeal a gay
protections law in Missoula, Montana's second largest city, cleared a
key House panel on Monday.
Republican Representative Kristin
Hansen's bill 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 found in the state's Human
Rights Act, which does not include sexual orientation and gender
Rep. Liz Bangerter, a Republican,
joined Democrats in opposing the bill.
A second bill sponsored by
Representative Edie McClafferty, a Democrat, that would have
broadened Montana's Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation
and gender identity was tabled by the committee.
“They have essentially made it clear
that LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] Montanans are not
equals and that they believe the LGBT people do not deserve the same
protections as anyone else,” Jamee Greer of the Montana Human
Rights Network told the Missoulian.
Hansen has previously said she believes
the “Montana Human Rights Act pre-empts the city of Missoula”
from enacting such laws.
The bill now moves to the House floor
for debate this week.