City of Helena, Montana Unanimously Passes LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance
December 19, 2012 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
The City Commission of Helena voted 5-0 on Monday to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. With the victory came a setback, however, proving there is still work to be done.
The final language of the ordinance contained an exception allowing transgender people to be denied access to locker rooms and changing rooms. The commission rejected a compromise amendment that would have used more respectful language and would offer reasonable access to facilities for those affected.
Affirming that they would not “leave members of our community behind,” the Montana Human Rights Network made clear that they would continue to fight to fix the public accommodations provision.
Passage of the LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance in Helena came just a day after the Montana Supreme Court rejected a claim by same-sex couples seeking equal state law benefits.
Helena now joins municipalities all across the country that have passed protections against discrimination for their LGBT communities. In just the last several weeks, St. Louis County, Missouri and Boise, Idaho approved their own non-discrimination ordinances.
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