Human Rights Campaign Calls on Gianforte to Veto Five Horrific Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

by HRC Staff

Following the most anti-LGBTQ+ session in the history of the Montana Legislature, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — is calling on Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte to veto five aggressively anti-LGBTQ+ bills. The bills are pending the Governor’s signature just days after Republican legislators silenced transgender State Rep. Zooey Zephyr and barred her from the Montana House. Gianforte’s own son, David, has also joined a growing chorus of voices calling on the Governor to veto these discriminatory bills.

The five bills awaiting Gianforte’s consideration are:

  • The LGBTQ Erasure Act (SB 458), legislation that aims to strip away dozens of legal protections and rights for LGBTQ+ Montanans, particularly transgender Montanans — creating a colossal step backwards for LGBTQ+ people at a time when legislative assaults are at an all-time high.
  • HB 303, which allows medical providers to deny services to patients based on their personal beliefs rather than urgent patient needs.
  • HB676, a bill that allows parents to withdraw students from public school if they disagree with the lesson plan of the day.
  • SB 518, a bill that would allow schools to misgender and forcibly out transgender and non-binary students.
  • And HB 359, which would criminalize drag performances.

The LGBTQ Erasure Act especially may pose broader dangers to LGBTQ+ people across the country. If it becomes a framework for discrimination in other state legislatures, it will also open an unprecedented legal can of worms. Non-partisan fiscal analysis from Montana’s Legislative Fiscal Division indicates if signed into law the bill will risk the state’s federal funding of $7.5 billion — half of the state’s budget.

“The Governor of Montana has an opportunity to stop this runaway legislation in its tracks. He should take it. These bills will not accomplish any public good. All they will do is further discriminate against LGBTQ+ Montanans at a time when our community is under attack. Like millions of Americans who believe in equality we are urging him to veto these bills."

Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 540 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 220 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

This year, HRC is tracking:

  • More than 125 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 13 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Dakota.
  • More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,
  • More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.

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