Archive for November 20th, 2013

by lizard

Did everyone hear the great news about Missoula? When it comes to human rights, apparently we’re perfect because we got a 100 on the human rights campaign equality index. Here’s the proof of how awesome and non-discriminatory we are:

In an index released Tuesday by the Human Rights Campaign, Missoula’s city government got a 100 percent score for the way its laws and policies include people who are LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

City Councilwoman Caitlin Copple, who had championed some changes that put the Garden City in the “all star” category of the Municipal Equality Index, said she was elated with the news.

“I just think it’s incredible that 11 cities were able to get 100 percent, like Missoula, even though they exist in states that lack even the most basic protections,” Copple said. “I think that’s really significant and shows how much our world is changing.”

The index is in its second year and is a project of the Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation Institute. It scores cities based on several policies, among them whether they have in place nondiscrimination protections in work, housing and public accommodations; relationship recognition such as a domestic partner registry; domestic partner health benefits; and an LGBT police liaison.

While Caitlin Copple expresses her elation at this good news, on a different front, she is advocating for enhancements to ordinances that have the potential to be vehicles of discrimination against the plague of transients we noble Missoulians must endure on a daily basis.

In a Public Safety and Health committee meeting this morning (which you can check out here) Copple gives some context to this contentious issue. The idea is to make it illegal to sit/sleep/lay on sidewalks in the BID (Business Improvement District) between the hours of 6am to 11pm.

In the video footage of this meeting, Copple says she supports these enhancements because she’s been working downtown since June, and has “seen first hand how out of control it’s gotten downtown”. Another reason Copple cites is a constituent’s anecdotal story of being “accosted” outside Safeway, which, if you ask me, is a pretty stupid example to cite in the context of a ban on sitting/sleeping/lying on a sidewalk.

If this ban gets passed before the end of the year, I hope its subsequent enforcement is done in an equitable, non-discrimantory manner, because it would be so sad to lose that perfect human rights score.




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