Human Rights Campaign Responds to Montana Governor Gianforte’s Signing of Religious Refusal Bill

by Wyatt Ronan

RFRA bill similar to controversial Indiana law signed by then Gov. Mike Pence

MONTANA — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people responds to Governor Greg Gianforte’s signing of the anti-LGBTQ Senate Bill 215 — an expansive religious refusal bill that could grant a license to discriminate against Montanans and visitors, including LGBTQ people, people of faith, and women, across a wide range of goods and services in the state — into law. This represents the fourth anti-LGBTQ and second RFRA bill sent to a governor’s desk this session.

The slate of anti-LGBTQ bills that are rippling through the Montana state legislature will generate serious consequences for all Montanans. SB 215 will have a significant impact on vulnerable communities in Montana — including people of faith, women, and LGBTQ people. It will also jeopardize Montana businesses that voted for Governor Gianforte with the hopes of getting the state’s economy back on track. Let me be clear: religious liberty and equality are not mutually exclusive, and Montanas will not stand by as Governor Gianforte and fearful legislators seek to actively discriminate against the LGBTQ population.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

Indiana passed a similar bill which cost them $60m in lost revenue

Voters strongly disapproved of Indiana’s religious refusal law and punished Pence for signing it

  • And polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that 75 percent of Hoosiers said the law was bad for the state’s economy, and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed it.
  • Following the embarrassing fallout, his approval ratings tanked with voters and Pence decided not to run for re-election. Yet, his appalling record on LGBTQ equality won him a place on the ticket with Trump as his running mate. Now, Pence has been working behind the scenes at the White House to push his own disgraced values onto the national stage.
  • A poll conducted by the Indianapolis tourism department showed that the city was still facing the lingering repercussions of the reputational harm it incurred as a result of the legislation a year later

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