I was thrilled to be on hand last night night as Butte-Silver Bow county commissioners voted 10-2 to pass an ordinance protecting LGBT residents and visitors against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. Butte becomes the third city in the Big Sky state with these protections, joining Missoula and Helena.
It was powerful to witness history being made in Butte, a historic mining town with a population of almost 35,000.
Thanks to the work of the local Butte chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the Montana Human Rights Network, and the courageous county commissioners who stood up and voted in favor of this important ordinance. While Montana does not have statewide protections for LGBT folks, laws like this bring the state closer to full equality.
Cities and municipalities like Butte are taking active roles in making sure LGBT people can earn a living, keep a household, and care for their families without facing anti-LGBT discrimination.
More cities in Montana are working hard to pass ordinances like the one passed last night in Butte. HRC's Municipal Equality Index
provides a roadmap for cities and towns looking to adopt best practices on LGBT inclusion. The 2013 edition of the Index rated 291 cities across the country.
Eddie Zimpel, Liz welsh of ACLU Montana, Adrian Matanza of HRC, and Helen and John Cummings of PFLAG