Human Rights Campaign Condemns Gianforte for Signing New Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills into Law

by HRC Staff

Helena, Montana — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — slammed Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte today for signing several new anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law despite a growing chorus of detractors that included the Governor’s own son, David, who called for the bills to be vetoed. The bills signed into law by Gov. Gianforte 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.

  • 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.

The LGBTQ Erasure Act poses an especially broad array of harms. 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.

Governor Gianforte had an opportunity to do the right thing. He chose not to. These bills will not only make life harder on LGBTQ+ folks across the state of Montana, but they will also put half of Montana’s annual budget at risk as well. That’s a high price to pay to please the fringe elements of your political base. The people of Montana deserve better.”

Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. A total of 71 pieces of legislation have been enacted into law this year. 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 gender-affirming care bans — bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 15 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, and Florida

  • More than 30 anti-transgender bathroom bills filed;

  • More than 100 anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship bills, and;

  • 45 anti-LGBTQ+ drag performance ban bills.

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