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 identity.

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.