HRC Blog

A Stand Against LGBT Discrimination in Big Sky Country

photo via flickr user mazdamiata Early this morning, the city of Missoula joined 12 states [pdf] , the District of Columbia, and more than 120 cities and counties by passing a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  After a seven-hour meeting, at 1: 45am MST the council voted 10-2 in favor of the measure. The new law will protect Missoula residents from housing and employment discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. The motivation behind these protections is simple, but powerful: the goal is to protect people from arbitrary discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas.  A person’s sexual orientation or gender identity has nothing to do with their job performance, or their qualifications as a good renter.  Like provisions addressing discrimination based on, for example, national origin, gender, or age, prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity help ensure that people will, indeed, be judged on their merits. It’s important to note that laws against discrimination do not prevent employers from firing incompetent employees and do not prevent landlords from turning down unqualified renters.  These laws simply make sure that all employees get a fair chance at working hard to get ahead without discrimination or bias and that no one is singled out for arbitrary discrimination when it comes to renting an apartment. Check out coverage of the public hearing. Congratulations, Missoula! We look forward to working with Montana to pass non-discrimination laws for all of its residents.

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