Montana Politics

The Insanity of Arguments Against the Helena Non-Discrimination Ordinance

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Having listened to the testimony of those opposed to the Helena non-discrimination ordinance, it seems there were four distinct themes that emerged.

THE BATHROOM ISSUE

Freud would probably have something to say about the opponents’ fixation with bathrooms, but that aside, it’s an incredibly absurd argument. In the two years since the passage of Missoula’s ordinance, people have continued to use public restrooms quite safely. To assume that hordes of predators will a) suddenly come to Helena to access bathrooms and b) have been waiting for

WE CANNOT LEGISLATE MORALITY

Those who did not speak about the fear of using a bathroom claimed repeatedly that “we cannot legislate morality” or “change the human heart” with legislation. I suspect their homeschool classes didn’t cover the Civil Rights movement terribly extensively and that seem to have forgotten their willingness to legislatively impose their moral views on marriage.

EVERYONE IS BULLIED. WE WERE.

Perhaps the most absurd argument offered by opponents was the pathetic attempt to equate their experiences with childhood bullying and the discrimination faced by LGBTQ people. While bullying is certainly wrong, the experiences opponents described hardly raises to the level of violence and hostility often experienced by LGBTQ people. What’s more—they are already protected under nondiscrimination protections for their religion, marital status, and other factors.

“IT” IS NOT NATURAL

I’m reasonably sure that 8th grade homophobia is not a reason to make public policy.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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