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Make the Big Sky State a Competitor – Equality for All Montanans

Introduced last week to the House, HB 465 adds sexual orientation and gender expression protections in the work place.

Twenty one states, the District of Columbia, and all our territories already have codified these protections. A handful of Montana’s Cities have piecemeal efforts to protect equal employment for all with non-discrimination ordinances, leave 4/5ths of Montana’s population worried about being fired from a job for a reason that has nothing to do with performance. Having a statewide equality policy benefits all Montanans, regardless of geography.

One in four LGBTQ American employees has reported employment discrimination in the last five years.

Montana wishes to compete on the cutting edge to attract business and innovative industries to our state to grow the economy. Younger, educated Americans (90%) overwhelmingly support LGBTQ work protections. If Montana is going to attract youth to stay in our state, or choose to move here, we must be inclusive.

Professionals wanting to invest in a local community (buy property/houses, pay taxes, shop local) look at many factors before putting down roots. The fear of job loss for being gay is a deterring factor. The fear of housing discrimination is a major deciding factor for LGBTQ folx looking to relocate (78%) Everyone deserves to be judged on their job performance and only their job performance. If we want LGBTQ Americans to choose Montana, to return to Montana, to root here — we need to ensure our state is welcoming to their talents and their financial future.

And even if the economic argument is not persuasive…

Montana is like a small town. Usually, everyone is up in your business and gossip is practically a hobby. For a population of about 1 million, we sure seem to all know each other or are possibly related to someone in common.

And we know that our LGBTQ neighbors are just that, neighbors. Our neighbors all deserve equality under the law, security for themselves and their families, the same job opportunities, and the privilege of suffering through this winter like everyone else.

Montana IS the Last Best Place – let’s take the step this legislative session to make sure Montana keeps that title. There’s room for us all under the Big Sky.

Cal 406-444-4800 and leave a message with your legislative representation and let them know you support the Big Sky State being open to ALL. Vote Yes on HB 465.

Read the Billings Gazette coverage HERE.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Plains Feminist

Montana and national politics from a Southeastern Montana perspective, focusing on regional activism, womxn’s issues, LGBTQ equality, education, and revitalization of the Montana Democratic Party. Being a liberal east of Billings has unique and intense challenges, and Plains Feminist tries (sometimes fruitfully, sometimes not so much) to educate the hard-working folks who *eek* out a living on the “not mountains” side of the state. Plains Feminist enjoys intellectual banter over coffee or beer preferably after dark. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @PlainsFeminist.

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