We have hit a roadblock in the campaign to pass an inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in Billings and we need your help.
The ordinance would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression—providing important legal protections to the LGBTQ community.
On Tuesday, Billings City Councilmember Shaun Brown introduced yet another initiative to indefinitely table the non-discrimination ordinance. This time it worked.
City Council was divided on the issue, and Mayor Tom Hanel—who just months ago stated that his goal was to bring forth the ‘best non-discrimination ordinance in the state’ and has continually told the LGBTQ community that he was committed to passing the ordinance—cast the deciding vote to table it at this time (click here to see how City Councilmembers voted). His reasoning? The non-discrimination ordinance ‘isn’t necessary’ and is ‘too divisive.’
Billings residents value fairness and equality. We know that our strength as a community is based upon treating each other with dignity and respect. But right now, hardworking people can be fired from their jobs simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
A non-discrimination ordinance in Billings would match public policy to our community values, by ensuring that all employees have access to legal protections regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Now, more than ever, we need your support. Here’s how you can help:
- Email Billings City Council NOW to share why you support passage of a fully inclusive non-discrimination ordinance, and why it is so critically important for our community.
- Join us and allies at a Rally For Fairness on Saturday, June 7th from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church (180 24th Street W, Ste M, Billings, MT 59102).
- Help us pack the next Billings City Council meeting with supporters on Monday, June 9th at 6:30 PM at the Billings City Council Building (220 N. 27th Street, 2nd Floor, Billings, MT 59101). Let’s ensure that City Councilmembers and the Mayor hear loud and clear from supporters that we won’t allow them to table the non-discrimination ordinance. Interested in testifying? Email me for more information.
It is our sincere hope that the Mayor and the City Council reconsider this action and move forward with drafting a fully inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that will protect all of Billings’ residents.
Yet, we know it is up to us to make that happen. Please join us to ensure that we do not leave the LGBTQ community in Billings behind. It’s time to stand up and speak out for our rights. Let’s make history together.