Archive for the ‘Gay and lesbian issues’ Category

by jhwygirl

This all I got, and it’s minutes old.

It’s that big.

From D. Gregory Smith’s twitter feed:

@Dgsma: MT Democratic Party approves platform amendment supporting full marriage equality for gays and lesbians #MTPol #Equality #guts

UPDATE

It’s a beautiful thing, and I poached it from D. Gregory Smith’s From Here to Eternity. I really hope he doesn’t mind. He’s got it printed out over there, too – so go read it.

Missoula’s CBS KPAX news led the 10 o’clock with the story. They even interviewed Jamee Greer, spokesperson and lobbyist for the Montana Human Rights Network.

The Missoulian, too, got this piece up from Charles S. Johnson shortly after the news broke. It’s got some good background.

This will certainly make this year’s Montana Pride 2012 event even more celebratory next weekend in Bozeman.

Advertisements

by jhwygirl

In a post titled “Profiting from Hypocrisy“, blogger montanafesto exposes the troubled hypocrisy of Rep. James Knox and his pro-repeal medical marijuana stance. First the video:

Read montanafesto’s post. Rep. James Knox offered his services to a medical marijuana business, at a greatly discounted price because his business “was slow.”

There’s more – montanafesto takes Knox on in Facebook…and now, apparently, an email has been removed from the website because Knox was threatening his lawyers.

Neither here nor there, now…the Billings Gazette has picked up the story.

Wonder if Knox has threatened to sue them, too?

~~~~~~~
So all this insane personal intrusion schizophrenic state-rights/anti-state rights Montana Republican party-led legislating has me now more than just barely pondering: What is it these guys and gals are doing up there? Rep. Warburton is obsessed with making my vagina a crime scene….Rep. Kristin Hansen wants to treat LGBTQ human beings as something less than such, and now we have Knox falling all over himself to provide discounted services to the medical marijuana community.

What is it they say? People in glass houses should not be throwing rocks?

What else is there to explain this regressive hate-filled legislation? There’s a ton of it out there.

Kuddos to you, montanafesto!

by jhwygirl

Aside from my own personal feelings on texting-while-driving regulations (texting only being pretty much unenforceable) the Montana GOP sent quite a message in the legislature on Friday, such that Senate Minority Leader Carol Williams at the end of the day called it “Black Friday” and “the absolute worst day of the legislative session.”

HB516 moves forward out of Senate Judiciary to a floor vote probably Monday. Amendments were made on Friday that aim it at ordinances only, leaving intact Bozeman’s equality resolution. (Search HB516 here for more background.)

The conservative attack on the budget was in full mode in Senate Finance Friday morning, and among the leaders speaking out against unnecessary cuts and a lack of priorities were the governor’s budget director David Ewer and Health & Human Services Director Anna Whiting-Sorrel. The message was loud and clear from Schweitzer’s office – and even Bloomberg Businessweek picked up the story.

There was more, and to be honest, I am ill-informed on the entirety of it all. As for the topic at hand, though…..

HB241, a bill that would make texting-while-driving illegal, with a $100 fine was postponed indefinitely on the floor of the Senate after passing Senate Judiciary on an 8-4 vote. The bill was proposed by Sen. Christine Kaufmann.

Match that up with the House Judiciary tabling Senator Tom Facey’s bill which would have taken Montana’s laws which make intercourse between two consenting people of the same sex illegal.

SB276 cleared the Republican-controlled Senate with a 49-1 vote.

That law is, btw, unconstitutional under the Montana Constitution….and it is also proudly part of the Montana Republican Party platform.

The Montana GOP is an embarrassment.

I wonder if the House Republicans have the guts to allow it to a floor blast vote.

If they don’t allow a floor blast vote, they’re cowards.

by jhwygirl

We’ve written a number of times about Havre Montana Representative Kristen Hansen’s pro-hate bill HB516.

In brief summary, the bill would nullify Bozeman and Missoula’s equality ordinances – Bozeman’s of which extended equal protections to all its employees and Missoula’s, a more extensive ordinance which extended equal protection to gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered individuals in the City of Missoula. It survived at least 3 attempts at recall petitions, and received overwhelming support from Missoula’s community when the hearing was held.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the Senate. More specifically, I don’t want to think about what’s going to happen in the Senate. The facts are that this is a hate bill and there is no overwhelming state interest at hand that requires the legislature to attack local government rule and authority.

It is also hate.

If the real issue were some conflict with the Montana Human Rights Act, then Hansen and the rest of the hate mongers out there that voted in approval of this thing in the house would be proposing a bill that added GBLT individuals to the protections under the Title 49.

That hypocrisy is exhibited by the fact that the same committee that approved HB516 also killed HB514 which would have extended equal protections under the Montana Human Rights Act.

In ridiculously transparent hypocrisy, House Judiciary members argued in favor for HB516 saying that GLBT individuals were already protected under Title 49’s Montana Human Rights Act while the very same people listed to testimony and voted against HB514.

HB514 also failed a blast motion on the floor.

Hypocrites.

Republican Representatives Steve Fitzpatrick (Great Falls),Steve Gibson (E. Helena), Brian Hoven (Great Falls), and Max Yates (Butte) split from their party – all voting against HB516 and in support of equality and local government control.

Fitzpatrick and Gibson stuck with their no votes on the blast motion for HB514.

The hearing for HB516 is Monday, March 14th at 3 p.m. in Room 405, Senate Local Government committee.

by jhwygirl

Wulfgar! at Left in the West gets the hat tip on this one.

From Friday’s hearings, detailed in several posts below. Watch Superstar State Representative Ellie Hill (HD-94) take on the Montana’s Christian Taliban’s Reverend Harris Himes.

Rep. Hill? THANK YOU.

This is a civilized society. It seems that some of the GOP running these committees forgets these things. Every statement does not fall under “free speech” and inciting violence is not anything that should be tolerated.

And Rep. Ken Peterson, of Billings? 10 minutes is not a public hearing.

You represent ALL, not just those than elected you. You are a disgrace to the state bar (if you hold it); a disgrace to the House Judiciary; and a disgrace to the Montana Legislature.

And pulling for seventeen executive actions in House Judicary on Monday morning, in less than 4 hours? That leaves no time for meaningful discussion between legislators – but that’s exactly what you want now, isn’t it?

You are a disgrace to democracy.

by jhwygirl

In this episode we refer you to Rep. Kristin Hansen (R-Havre) who introduced her pro-discrimination bill HB516 to the House with a first reading on Saturday.

A woman. How refreshing.

Hansen’s bill is designed to prohibit local government ordinances geared at promoting equality. It applies retroactively.

How’s that for conservative small-government? Jobs Jobs Jobs?

Rep. Hansen’s bill would violate the Montana Constitution along with the federal government’s based on current multiple Supreme Court precedents.

Will the GOP speak out to this hateful legislation? Isn’t there anything in this legislation that some true small-government privacy loving conservative doesn’t find offensive?

I do honestly make an effort to try and not lump all GOP together. It is becoming increasingly hard for me to do that. This is one bill where I certainly have an expectation for someone anyone in the GOP to come forward and speak out against this kind of hateful horrible legislation.

Certainly there are a few of you Republicans that think this sort of thing is wrong?

Failing that, it makes it hard not to lump ’em all together. There are dangerous ideas here that need confronted. This is one of them.

As for Rep. Kristen Hansen? You can bet she’s no lawyer (but she’ll be able to play one here in the State of Montana if she wishes after this session, if the GOP get’s their wishes.)

Both Missoula and Bozeman have passed local ordinances geared at protecting and promoting equality in their respective communities. This bill is a direct slap at these communities…and it is also a slap at any other community that may want to embrace a message of acceptance for their citizens.

by Jamee Greer

One.
This weekend in Serbia, a gay pride celebration was disrupted by almost 6000 rioters throwing molotov cocktails, stun grenades and bricks – and chanting slogans like “death to homosexuals!”.

“Serbia will guarantee human rights for all its citizens, regardless of the differences among them, and no attempts to revoke these freedoms with violence will be allowed,” Tadic said.

Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas said damage was estimated at more than euro1 million ($1.39 million).

Right-wing groups say the gay events run counter to Serbian family and religious values. Most of the rioters Sunday were young football fans whose groups have been infiltrated by neo-Nazi and other extremist organizations.

Serbia is seeking membership in the European Union, which requires certain human rights standards be met before they can join.

Two.
New York State gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, told a gathering of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Sunday that children are being “brainwashed” into believing homosexuality was acceptable and normal.

“That’s not how God created us,” he said, reading from a prepared address. “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t.”

And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.”

Newsday.com reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted that statement when he gave the speech.

Paladino went on to say to the media, “Don’t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie.”

Three.
Another gay teen has taken their life, this time in Norman, Oklahoma. The 19 year old had attended a City Council public hearing earlier in the week which included discussion on the receipt of a mayoral proclamation recognizing October as Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender History Month in Norman. The proclamation was approved 7-1, after three hours of graphic, homophobic testimony.

One man said he moved to Norman because he thought it was the kind of place that would never accept the GLBT community with open arms. A woman, who described herself as “bi-racial,” said she was tired of the GLBT plight being compared to Civil Rights.

Some of those who opposed the proclamation claimed that members of the GLBT community would use it to infiltrate the public school system, essentially allowing the “gay lifestyle” to become a part of the curriculum.

Others claimed that council recognizing October as GLBT History Month was a waste of their time. Some members of the audience even suggested that any council members voting in favor of the proclamation may have trouble getting reelected.

Numerous residents also claimed the Bible was their guiding light, citing the ancient text as their primary reason for opposing the proclamation and the GLBT community in general.

And for those in attendance, it was hard to ignore the intolerant grumblings, the exasperated sighs and cold, hard stares that followed comments from supporters of the GLBT proclamation.

by Pete Talbot

“We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal,” reads a plank in the state’s GOP platform.

So, most Montanans think that two consenting adults of the same gender should go to jail if they want to have sex. Interesting.

“I think your average Montanan would say the environmentalists have gone too far in stopping growth and stifling the economy,” says Bill Gallagher, Republican PSC candidate in District 5.

It’s environmentalists, not Wall Street and the resulting financial meltdown, that have stopped growth and crippled the economy — at least according to your “average Montanan.” Again, interesting.

This begs the question, what is an average Montanan? The Montana Republican Party, with some exceptions, thinks we’re homophobic anti-environmentalists.

It’s not easy or wise to pigeonhole people, especially Montanans. Examples I know of: a gay football coach, a Prius-driving logger, a lesbian wrangler. The Montanans I’ve met, for the most part, are a tolerant lot. They also have great respect for the outdoors. And this isn’t just in leftyville Missoula. With in-laws in Babb and Billings, and gigs in towns from Eureka to Broadus, Wolf Point to Sula, I’m constantly surprised by the depth and understanding of your “average Montanan.”

Sure, one will run into the occasional Neanderthal, but Montana doesn’t have a corner on that market.

(A quick aside. I wish I could vote in this PSC race but the Bill Gallagher/Ken Toole contest isn’t in my district. Ken Toole is a consumer advocate and industry watchdog. Gallagher is a shill for the utilities. And if Toole loses and the Republican wins in Montana’s northern District 1 [Don Ryan-D and Travis Kavulla-R] then Brad Molner would become chairman of Montana’s PSC. Scary stuff.)

I obviously disagree with the Montana Republican Party that Montanans are an intolerant lot and are opposed to environmental safeguards. Au contraire.

Some folks get stirred up by the far-right rhetoric — much of it coming from out of state: images of drag queens marching arm-in-arm up to the altar of the local Pentecostal Church, or claims of an end to all logging, mining, grazing, hunting and fishing if an environmentalist is elected. This ain’t going to happen.

And I have faith that “average Montanans” will look beyond the fear-based messages put out by the likes of Gallagher and the state Republican Party.

by jhwygirl

This is just a quick follow-up to last week’s post about the City of Bozeman’s resolution in support of Montana’s same sex couples and their lawsuit against the State of Montana for its Defense of Marriage Act.

With Montana in the national news spotlight for the Montana GOP’s platform criminalizing homosexuality, this resolution highlights some of the things I touched on in that previous post – namely that to have the State of Montana defend an unconstitutional law (unconstitutional by both Montana Constitutional and U.S. Constitutional standards) is sheer lunacy.

I’ve preached many a time on the pyramid of laws that we have – the Constitution is the ultimate law of the land, and all others must comply. Shame on any legislator (or administration or attorney general) that does anything less than defend against those guiding principles.

Bozeman’s resolution is unique in that it is the first resolution directed towards state government telling them to put an end to segregating and treating same sex couples differently under government sanctioned institutions like marriage.

Montana has far more important things to address in court than to try and rehash an issue that has been resolved in our highest courts already. Not only has Montana’s Supreme Court resolved the issue, the U.S. courts have utilized Montana’s Supreme Court decision as precedent in many federal cases confirming the right to privacy.

Conservatives everywhere should be in support. Nothing speaks more loudly against the principles of small government and intrusion than a law that defines marriage.

Please take time to read the Bozeman Chronicle’s article on last Monday’s resolution proposed by Mayor Jeff Krauss.

Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss wants his city to set an example for other cities across Montana by being the first to pass a resolution supporting the seven same-sex couples suing the state for the same rights as married couples.

“These couples are really walking out on a limb to put their faces forward, to put their stories forward, and I think they deserve the support,” Krauss told the Chronicle.

Jeff Krauss, btw, identifies as a Republican. The Mayor’s office and City Commission posts are non-partisan.

Montana’s GOP might be nuts, with “over two-thirds” of its membership voting in support of criminalizing homosexuality – but not all of Montana’s GOP agree. We that support equality should keep this in mind, and not create an environment where the GOP members that want to come out in support of equality – that want to speak out and tell their party that they are wrong – have exactly that environment which allows them to speak in support of small government and against its intrusion into private lives.

Montanans for equality should constructively embrace the national attention being thrust upon us now and leverage it to allow the state’s GOP members that do support equality to do so without fear of repercussion. That one-third out there need the breathing room to take care of the business at hand.

by jhwygirl

On Monday at Bozeman’s City Commission meeting, Mayor Jeff Krauss put forth a resolution that formally supports equality rights for same sex couples in the State of Montana.

The resolution calls on the State of Montana and its Attorney General to support equality rights for gay and lesbian couples by supporting the couples which filed suit against the State of Montana back in July of this year for failing to offer legal protects to same sex couples as it does to other families in the state.

Bozeman’s Chronicle doesn’t put every story online – and the budget was certainly a big issue that caught the attention of the press, no doubt…but hopefully they’ll be covering this story soon.

And Bozeman’s City Commission? Good for them for seeking to speak in support of the same-sex couples of their community and the rest of the state.

Missoula City Council? Missoula Board of County Commissioners? Speak up – let Governor Schweitzer and Attorney General Steve Bullock know that they both need to speak up in support of equality rights for gay and lesbian couples in this state.

Bozeman leads on calling on Montana to do the right thing – let’s hope Missoula follows.

by jhwygirl

So confirms Montana GOP Chairman Will Deschamps to Missoula Independent reporter Jessica Mayrer who took to trying to better understand (and report) the Montana GOP’s stance on homosexual acts.

Deschamps seems pretty nonplussed by all the stir:

As I recall there was very little discussion when that came to the floor,” he says. “It went through very rapidly.

I imagine him saying it with a nice calm smile.

I have friends that are gay and lesbian. I have one family member who is. Odds are, considering how large my extended family is, there are more. I recently found out that a very very good friend from high school is a lesbian. I met the news with some shock, in thinking of how she had felt the need to hid something so basic to her very soul.

How any human can think to criminalize sexuality – something so basic to nature – and not unique to the human race, either – is beyond comprehension.

I won’t look the other way. I won’t ignore it as if it isn’t important. These are people. Good people. Sons, daughters, brothers, sisters – fathers and mothers, frankly.

This aspect of the platform is advocating for something illegal. It is unconstitutional. It is inhumane. It’s ignorant.

Frankly – I think it’s a bit perverted, too.

Let me also say that I don’t believe that all Republicans think this way. This is a party platform, and I’ve presented this issue as such. Looking the other way, though, is not an option. It shouldn’t be. I’m obviously not a Republican (frankly, I don’t know that I’m going to call myself a Democrat anymore, either) – but if I were, I’d be making some phone calls and writing some letters and lord knows what else.

by jhwygirl

I am beyond disgusted with this kind of stuff. If I’ve never written to the fact that the Constitution is the ultimate law of the land, I’ve written nothing.

Today I find that the MT GOP, at its most recent convention, re-affirmed its 2008 platform calling for making homosexual acts criminal.

And lest you think I’m making this up – mainly because the page link I provided has been removed today by the MT GOP – here is a cached version, courtesy of the google.

Now – these Einsteins of the MT GOP apparently have no respect for the Montana Constitution, nor the United State’s Constitution. See, both the Montana Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States of America have struck down “anti-sodomy” laws.

The Montana Supreme Court did so in Gryczan v. State, 942 P.2d 112 (1997). Not only that, Gryczan and the right of privacy it has conferred has been reaffirmed over and over again by both the Montana courts and other state and federal courts repeatedly since its rendering.

The United States Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws in Lawrence et. al. V. Texas (02-102) 539 U.S. 558 (2003), finding a constitutional protection to sexuality. Only Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

In other words – it’s no government’s business what anyone does in their bedroom.

Where does it stop, MT GOP? What is it you want? Are there not enough problems out there facing Montanan’s? Have you no respect for the ultimate law of our land? Of our nation?

By Goddess, something is really failing us here, Montana – I am gosh darn sick and tired of politicians on both sides of the aisle proposing voting for passing and signing bills into law that violate the constitution (be it the Montana Constitution or the Constitution of the United States).

It’s beyond disrespectful that politicians think they can push the boundaries of these precious documents as if saying to The People “Go ahead and sue me – you can’t afford the fight.”

It’s pretty friggin’ simple – policies must obey rules; rules must obey laws; laws must obey the Constitution. It’s not a “sometimes” thing. It’s not something that should only followed when it’s convenient or when the “other party” is in charge

It’s all the time.

by Pete Talbot

(UPDATE: City Council passes anti-discrimination ordinance on a 10-2 vote. Renee Mitchell and Lyn Hellegard were the two council members to vote against it. Jhwygirl blogged live from council chambers here and here. I went to the rally at Caras Park and then marched to council chambers with the masses.)

It’s been a half-dozen years, since George W.’s war in Iraq, that this many took to the streets of Missoula. City Council is voting on an anti-discrimination ordinance tonight that says people, despite their sexual orientation, still have rights. Amazing concept.

It’s a local issue but I believe it’s more. It’s also about what the Missoula community stands for, and that isn’t the fear and hate that the “Christian” right advances. It’s not the Tea Party rhetoric, either. It’s the opposite of that stuff. It’s about mutual respect and tolerance.

I was impressed by the number of Missoula clergymen and woman who spoke in favor of the ordinance; talking about real Christian values.

I will give the opposition credit, though. It showed up in the face of overwhelming numbers; I’d say 60 pro-discrimination folks to around 500 anti-discrimination folks.

The crowd at the rally and march was diverse, to say the least. Many, many younger people in attendance, which gives me hope.

But it’s late and jhwygirl is capturing the moment better than I so I’ll just leave you with some pictures.

by jhwygirl

Picking this up where Taryn Nash, daughter of Tei Nash speaks:

Hello members of the city council, the Missoula community and my friends. My name is Taryn Nash. I am a Missoula native and I’m currently in Spokane right now attending physicians assistant’s school, but will be coming back in 3 months.

I am also Tei Nash’s daughter. Tei Nash, if you don’t know already, is chairman of notmybathroom.com.

I am also a member of the LGBT community. I am here for two very important reasons tonight and I appreciate you listening to my short statements. The first is to address my father – he just left, I don’t know if you saw that, but it was because of my presence I believe he left.

Dad – I strongly disagree with the way you have been portraying the LGBT community who are my friends. You have gone too far. I will not sit back anylonger and be quiet. I love you because you are my dad, but I have lost respect for you. Your blanket judgements and irrational conclusions are ignorant and hurtful, and you need to realize that this crusade you are on is wrong, and it affects me personally.

It makes me sad to say this, but Dad? Right now I am ashamed to call you my father. I am asking you to stop your ridiculous agenda of battling the LGBT rights or you will lose me forever.

The second reason I am here tonight is to encourage the council members to pass this very important ordinance. I plan to practice medicine, with an emphasis in geriatric care in the Missoula community. And I hope to live in a community where I won’t be discriminated based upon my orientation.

I also encourage you to pass this ordinance because these wonderful people of the LGBT community deserve protection against discrimination in all areas. They are hard-working, trustworthy, loving and respectable people and I am proud to call them my family.

Thank you for your time.

{Wow. Hug.}

by jhwygirl

We’ll be giving this my best girl scout try…..

Good lord – we’ve not even gotten to the purpose of tonight, and Halverson is out there calling the city the Soviet Union.

Mayor Engen is saying that no one is going to applaud tonight – because what it does is ramps up emotions. He points out that there is going to be people on both sides of the aisle of this issue that have never spoken before in public, and he wants to make sure that everyone is able to be heard.

Amen to that, Mr. Mayor!

Mayor now reads the Diversity Day proclamation.

Hearing is now beginning. Presentations from sponsors of the ordinance will speak, along with certain opponents to start.

Councilperson Stacy Rye begins, and says that this is the most packed that she has ever seen it. Dave Strohmaier and her have sponsored this bill – it will extend protection to sexual orientation and gender identity and gender expression. Missoula will hopefully join 129 other cities and Washington DC. She goes on to dispell some myths. There is nothing in this ordinance about bathrooms – there are no laws governing who uses what bathroom – and she notes that despite this, there has not been chaos in Missoula bathrooms over the years.

She points out that in any of the 129 other cities, there has not been an outbreak of crime.

Housing would be protected for sexual orientation just as it is protected for race sex and religion. Businesses like Missoula like Walmart and Costco are but two that already have protections such as the ones proposed already in place. Who you are or who you love should have no effect on your employment and should not cause you to loose housing or services.

Dave Strohmaier begins – and notes what a historic steps this is for Missoula. He reviews the framework – there are two main sections – a new chapter being added which sets the legal framework for discrimination and non-discrimination. It contains an intent section, and other sections with deal with multiple aspects.

The City of Missoula will not be prosecuting the first through third offenses – people would have to obtain their own counsel. Only the 4th offense will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. That is the first main chunk. The second part amends existing code that already contains language related to discrimination – and amends the protected classes.

He speaks to the origin – he says that there is a very real history of discrimination existing in Missoula. He says that last fall both he and Stacy Rye began looking at the issue individually, and found that many places were looking at doing the same and they joined forces with the MT Human Rights Network.

Why not do a referendum? Refer it to the voters? I think that we were elected as representatives – that we have a representative government and that we were elected to make hard choices. It is our responsibility to deal with it.

A few misconceptions: This ordinance will infringe upon rights to exercise religion – Dave says that the Montana Constitution does not allow this, as does the U.S. Constitution. We have – to make it clear – have amended language in the intent section to make it clear that this ordinance does to ensure on the free exercise of religion.

Churches are free to hire – and he cites ministers and day care workers – anyone they wish.

No local government has the authority to alter Montana’s Constitution.

Nicky Zupanic, public policy director for the ACLU. Has had a chance to speak with many of the council to address many of the concerns as the ordinance was drafted and redrafted. Is happy to respond to any other questions that come up, especially as they related to new amendments to clarify protections under the 1st Amendment.

She says that the ACLU has worked hard to ensure that people are not discriminated against. There are reasons that we protect against discrimination because certain traits are inherent – they can not be changed. There is a history of discrimination that certain people have been subject to. At the end of the day, the question is whether the LGBT community belongs in that class.

Passing this ordinance allows for people to come forth with complaints. She notes that many similar ordinances have been in place for 10, 15 years. For many that have been told that state laws do not include you – for these people, this ordinance is a big deal. For people that believe in fairness and equality – who believes is fostering and inclusive, welcoming community – for these citizens of Missoula, this is a very big deal.

Jamee Greer, of the Montana Human Rights Network speaks. He notes the strong support of the Missoula community. Following the kick-off of the campaign, the network organized a large group of supporters to support LGBT. He provides 3,200 petitions that he’s gathered. He is speeding through the huge numbers of organizations – Poverello, Jeanette Ranking, Blue Mountain Clinic…..

One of the newer groups that was created was FlushTheFear. He gives thanks to Quality Supply and her support offered as a business with multiple locations throughout Montana. He reads from her letter – calling for Missoula public policy to reflect values that ensure that everyone is treated with respect and humanity.

Jamee shares a personal story – and talks about coming out in the 8th grade. His father would classify himself as a conservative – a Baptist. When he told his dad, he said that his dad told him that he was proud of him, but that he was afraid for him – that Jamee’s life would face discrimination and an uphill battle.

Bob Lucino, a Missoula resident for 32 years. A former city council rep – says that what he is about to say is not easy. He risks friendships following his words. I don’t hate anybody. People that speak in opposition are not hateful – they are reasonable thoughtful citizens…we respect your office and we pray for you all on a regular basis. We respect your authority. I come tonight as a citizen to state my opposition to this ordinance. There is strong opposition for this ordinance. The latest count is that council has received 439 letters and emails in opposition.

What is there to discuss? By sheer coincidence, and proclamation is read, represented by students who were invited to Caras Park and they marched here. What’s really to discuss? This ordinance is artfully crafted and is very clearly sandwiched between civil rights images. What the vast majority of Montana’s think of as self-destructive, deviant and destructive behaviors. This has been cloaked behind race, creed, veterans – who can argue with that?

What would JFK say? LBJ? I don’t recall any of them ever talking about these groups? The ordinance language and the proclamation infers that it is our duty to protect these people. I don’t wish anyone harm – if people choose to have a dysfunctional lifestyle, that’s OK – but when you take it into this forum, and you cloak it in civil rights imagery, I have a problem with that.

Council reps Rye and Strohmaier is asking their colleagues to go where council has dared not go before. Legislating morality. Goes back to when he was finishing up his term 1991/92 – said that constituents came to him asking look into Mulligans and Fantasy for Adults – that people had family members dragged into a certain lifestyle…said that he didn’t want to deal with it, but he did. He said that from the first review committee – he said that people said that it is not the cities job to deal with moral issues. This discussion had a curious way of advancing until it got to a full public hearing – 350 people showed up. Spill over crowd. Council could have set a high moral standard regarding obscenity – precedent had allowed it, yet they voted 8-3 against it.

Now we come 18 years later, and he considers this as great an issue as hard-core porn and obscenity. He said that he doesn’t want to open up a slipper slope of legislating every little issue. Here we are tonight with a great moral issue and this time the council is considering setting another community standard. In the majority opinion, it is against the majority to get involved in this moral issue.

He turns to Strohmaier and Wiener and asks them about a bike path.

In conclusion, he wants council to take up all the other peoples issues in this town – and notes that we don’t need to go ths far.

Tei Nash gets up to speak. Resident of Missoula – 5 children, 2 businesses. This ordinance is purposely constructed to give no protections to rights of conscience. It will force a change in the moral compass of this community. The ACLU and the MHRN do not represent the will of a majority of Missoula citizens.

This ordinance is not simple. It is written purposely vague. Has consequences to business and encroaches upon the safety protections needed by the women and children of this county.

Under the non-government created 3rd sex, gender identity, the male experiencing this will be able to use any bathroom or services and if he is denied and if he perceives that his gender expression is discrimination, businesses are subject to penalties. Businesses are deemed guilty – there is no recourse except for expensive litigation. Given the absence of scientific or tangible proof of innate sense of one’s gender – it is impossible to protect people.

This ordinance is barbaric. It is irresponsible to expect to be told that increased opportunity for crimes to be committed by peeping Tom cross-dressing pedophiles and other sexual predators that use gender identity to gain access won’t be fully prosecuted until after the fact.

Should this ordinance pass, for every council member who votes for this ordinance, your aspirations will be severely impeded in the next election.

Reverend Hymes, of the Alliance Defense Fund – and wanted to address some legal concerns. It is fair to say that the old saying that one mans cup of tea is another’s draft of poison. There is a clash of two world views. As soon as we read this in the preamble – that there will be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – when you give that, you automatically discrimination to those that have a religious view in opposition.

The fact that there is a newly added disclaimer reminds me of many of the promises coming out of Washington. Right now I see that disclaimer, it is simply stating the obvious, but it does not remove the poison that is in the words that follow. SCOTUS says that it will look at the words the law employs. The SCOTUS also says that we can not construe statutory phrases in isolation – that we have to look at the design of the ordnance in the whole.

He is concerned that one of the items that will be brought up is a judicial settlement is that the city of Missoula is going have to pay something – while many of you on this council will disagree with my world view, what I’m really talking about is the potential for many lawsuits – lawsuits of very many different natures. The ordinance infringes upon churches – because the very definition of a church has it dealing with non-members – and as such, we’d be subject to this ordinance.

Courts will look at how this law is applied. Under public accommodations, it says that anyone who sells food is a public accommodation – and that means that they can not discrimination. He notes that he has pastors in this audience that sells food. SHEC does – Youth for Christ sells food – those churches will be forced to hire people in strict disagreement with their religious principles.

Incidentally, 15A uses the word “bathroom.”

A public accommodation has to open up its services and activities. That means that the services that a church has to provide – nurseries, weddings – that means that they can not discriminate. That means that the Pastor of a church will be forced to conduct a homosexual marriage. Nonetheless, despite what Strohmaier says that this is not legal because of the Montana laws – this ordinance is illegal.

Let me describe to you what happens when a case happens under 1st Amendment expression – that will immediately go to Judge Molloy and then to the 9th Circuit. I want to talk to you about money and what it will cost the city of Missoula – and then what will happen when the city looses – and I don’t have to be a prophet to say that – it will cost a lot. Is this something you really want?

I do not want the epitaph of this city council to be the city council that bankrupted the City of Missoula. The first time a gender-identity man walks into a women’s restroom and does something that strikes psychological fear and apprehension in a child, that lawsuit will come against this city and you will know real litigation costs.

I beg you to remember – for the sake of your soul’s – this is a sin and you should not support it.

Public comment begins. Mayor will enforce the 3-minute rule.

Pastor Ron Theisen to stand in opposition. Doesn’t believe there are problems – but sees on minimal evidence and it does not warrant action. Says the ordinance is advancing a political agenda. It’s poorly written. Said he had to contact lawyers to see what certain phrases mean. Why is it so ambiguous? Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

The Missoulian and Keila Szpaller have been doing a great job of covering the city’s proposed anti-discrimination ordinance since it’s very inception. Today I noticed a story Myths and facts of Missoula’s proposed anti-discrimination ordinance, which takes down, amongst them, the whole “bathroom issue” craziness.

Keith McHenry writes writes an especially direct letter addressing the “bathroom issue” which really should embarass those who think that an ordinance is going to cause kids or women or people in general to be attacked in public restrooms.

As Szpaller points out in the Missoulian – there currently is no law in place preventing women from using mens bathrooms and vise-versa.

Frankly, this over-obsession with sex amongst these pro-discrimination people is a little creepy, if you ask me.

Wanna check out the reality these people create? The city website posts city council’s email, and you can read letters that came in through Thursday.

For really really offensive, start with one councilperson’s exchange with a Bob Pond, of unknown local, who begins with a crude picture of a moose and a statue. That email series is at 04/07/10 11:15:47 P.M.

If anything makes me sad about this ordinance it is that there is such a loud ugly group of people opposed to treating everyone equally. That this loud ugly group of people is willing to spread lies and fear – that they are advocating for the right to treat a particular group of people, based on perception in some cases, differently.

City council takes up the anti-discrimination ordinance Monday night. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

In addition, Missoula will celebrate its first Diversity Day, beginning at 6 p.m. down at Caras Park. Here’s the scoop, from their Facebook page:

NCBI Respect Club students designate April 12 as Missoula’s 1st Annual Diversity Day! Join us at Caras Park April 12 at 6pm to celebrate and bring awareness to Missoula’s unique and diverse community. Rally will feature youth and community speakers & Mayor John Engen will make an official proclamation. Join our parade to the City Council Chambers where our city officials will be voting on the non-discrimination ordinance. One 7th grader from Meadow Hill said: “I want a diversity day because being different is important. Diversity Day could help bring our community together, and we all need to be recognized.” The students hope that the Diversity Day celebration will be a new Missoula tradition that will continue for years to come.

by jhwygirl

In April, Missoula City Council will take up a proposed city ordinance that will ensure equal protection for everyone regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

See? Is that a big deal? Or maybe the question is Why is this a big deal?

This is such a no-brainer for me to support, my mind sometimes has a hard time “supporting” stuff like this because I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that people can want to treat certain people differently based on who they are. How can people can think that way? Where to begin with such ignorance?

Tonight I first came across this. I’m reading the comments there, and frankly, I’m amazed at the openly bigoted and blatantly ignorant things people will publicly say and put their name and face to it.

Then I get to Missoula Red Tape where I read about a website titled NotMyBathroom.com, where the lies and misinformation continue. They purport – and notice the careful wording there – to be “an alliance of 17 organizations with members within the City Limits of Missoula as well as dozens of concerned citizens.”

Could that mean “An alliance of 17 organizations spread out over North and South American, with 2 members with the city limits as well as dozens of concerned citizens living in northern Idaho”?

These Mel Gibson fans even had the gumption to send out a press release.

I truly hope that the press picks up on that…someone like that, going through all that trouble to create two webpages and issue a press release deserves all the attention their little twisted brain desires.

by jhwygirl

GeeGuy at Electric City Weblog has a piece up that essentially defends Rehberg’s inexcusable homophobic behavior during a Middle East congressional delegation trip in February.

The problem is that his whole piece fails to recognize how damned offensive Rehberg’s actions were to the LGBT community. He equates my piece purely with Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) – I never even mention Idaho’s soon-to-be-gone and recently chastised by the Senate Ethic’ Committee Senator – and provides a link to 4&20 by saying “Only liberals can make fun of Larry Craig.”

Carol, our lovely conserva-a-blogger from Missoulapolis, and perennial 4&20 commenter, dips further into the defense of Rehberg by telling us that Rehberg’s behavior really wasn’t homophobic because he was making fun of homosexuals.

Can they really be that dense?

With that convoluted logic, I’m guessing that they think people who tell jokes with the n-word aren’t racist.

But now that GeeGuy opened the door on Senator Craig….

Even now – nearly a year later, they don’t understand that all of the Larry Craig stuff being said in 100’s of places, on television (that link from right-winger’s favorite Chris Matthews, has one great comment: “I just wonder how far hypocrisy can go in this business. I thought ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman’ was the high mark, but I think he’s just surpassed it.”), on the web, in print, in newspapers in his own state (plenty of media interviews there with Larry, too), and in blogs, are being said not to make fun of Larry Craig being gay – they’re being said to drive home the overwhelming hypocrisy of Idaho’s Senator Larry Craig.

Craig knew his party would bail on him – which is why he withdrew his guilty plea. He thought that by pleading guilty he’d keep the incident from public purview. In the end, he became the embarrassment that he knew he would become – all because he didn’t want anyone to know he was gay.

I didn’t categorize the previous piece with Republicans before, but I am now.

by jhwygirl

Lovely. Via The Hill, LiTW, Montana Netroots, the Helena Independent, KPAX, Great Falls Tribune, KXMC (North Dakota!), we all get a sense of Denny’s sense of humor:

When you’re from Montana, it’s hard to find things to do — so practical jokes come in handy.  Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) recently played a gag on Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) on their Middle East congressional delegation trip last month.

Rehberg left an “Idaho Travel Package” on Simpson’s airplane seat.

Contents included a stuffed sheep with gloves attached to it (draw your own conclusions), a Village People CD, books on cross-dressing and sign language and a T-shirt that reads, “My senator may not be gay, but my governor is Butch.”

Rehberg is proud of the gift bag. “I spent a bit of time putting the things together,” he boasted.

(name missing) was amused but not surprised that Rehberg was the bearer of such presents. “You can always find those materials in Montana,” he said, laughing.

Proud?

The Montana Human Rights Network(MHRN) is calling on Rehberg – who is up for re-election this November – to apologize. “We find this highly insulting, especially from a lawmaker with a consistent anti-gay voting record,” said Christine Kaufmann, director of the Montana Human Rights Network, and a state Senator.

The MHRN, which recently launched its Equality Project, and the Community Center of Missoula, have requested a meeting with Rep. Rehberg to discuss the prank and his voting record. “He uses us for jokes, while he votes to continue employment discrimination. He plays silly pranks while he votes against hate crimes protections,” said Kaufmann, “We’re not laughing.”

Like Shane said, this guy’s got to go. He’s an embarrassment for all of Montana.

by Rebecca Schmitz

I’ve been accused of using hyperbole to make a point by a couple of our readers, so I’m not immune to criticism. I know Jay’s officially retired the “creep” category, so hopefully the level of discourse can remain above personal attacks. But sometimes a blogger can’t resist, because this, this is priceless:

Cook for a living and forget to put pickles on a gay persons hamburger, you’ll be thrown in jail and charged with a hate-crime (obviously you hate gays because you didn’t forget the pickles on the hetero’s burger).

I’ve heard a lot about the fabled Homosexual Agenda, but sweet Elton John’s feather boa, I had no idea it was so far-reaching as to include burger fixings. I’m sure your heart, like mine, quails at the thought of the blood that will run in Missoula’s streets when someone forgets to put the slice of pepper jack on Jamee’s cheeseburger.

by dharmagrrl

THIS JUST IN: In England, Brighton to be more specific, if you play music that promotes violence against gays or lesbians in your club or pub, you will be shut down, according to a licensing proposal announced today.

Now this is a fine example of how laws speak to the values of a society. Brighton cares about it’s gay and lesbian population. They are willing to enact a law that bans homophobic music because of their desire to see a community not tainted by discrimination and violence against any group of people. As reported in Pinknews.co.uk, Councillor Dee Simson, head of licensing, told The Argus: “In Brighton and Hove we have a good record on equalities and we felt is was important to include this licensing policy. We do not want music that incites racial or homophobic hatred.”

So what to do Missoula…what to do? What do we want our own policies and laws to reflect. It is essential that we as a community take a stand, that we speak up against violence in all it’s forms and that we begin to enact laws that reflect our “Missoula values” (to quote Mayor Engen from the speech he gave at the November 26 rally against recent anti-gay hate crimes).

Missoula is a great place to be gay, there are many wonderful straight allies here and yet, we are plagued by anti-gay violence of all kinds. Just last year over the holidays, there was a truck on the Northside that was spray painted with an anti-gay epithet. This is simply unacceptable, yet it has become the norm, not the exception.

Currently our laws exclude LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members from protections against employment discrimination, rights to adopt, the right to marry and the 1000’s of rights afforded to married heterosexual couples. How do we allow this to continue? Are we really going to allow the religious right and garden variety ignorance decide what is fair in our communities? Does Brittany Spears’ less than twenty-four-hour Las Vegas marriage several years ago really mean more in this country than my friends who have been in a committed relationship for 10 years? Is that where you want to live? Is that the community you want to raise your children in?

It is time. Give the LGBT community your ear this holiday season. And in the new year give them your votes as well. We are not a wedge issue, we are flesh and blood. And we are not going anywhere. We are Missoula. Speak up. Stand OUT.

by Jamee Greer

Roughly three hundred Missoulians came together for We Are Missoula, a rally in response to the recent anti-gay violence here in the Garden City. Monday’s rally began at five, and by 5:01 the L-shaped floor of my favorite establishment, the Badlander, began to fill with a perfect cross-section of Missoula.

Speakers from the political realm included Senators Christine Kaufman and Dave Wanzenried, Representative Michele Reinhart (an honest roll-model for young Montanans), Mayor Engen and County Commissioner Jean Curtiss… and statements were read from Montana Senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, as well as State Representative Diane Sands, who wasn’t able to make the event but wanted to show her continuing support for civil rights. Members of the Missoula Police Department, which has made amazing progress in working effectively and openly with the city’s queer community, made rounds through the crowd offering hugs of support and reminding folks of the importance in reporting every act of violence. Mayor Engen was first to take the stage, urging survivors to discuss their stories—and reminding the attackers that hate is not welcome in our town.

Many of the speakers centered on the importance of hate crimes legislation inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation, something the Montana Legislature has been unable to pass despite efforts back into the early nineties.

Statements from both Montana Senators were read:

(Senator Tester’s statement was kept short and sweet)

In Montana, personal freedom isn’t a luxury. It’s a God-given right. Here—and any place where personal freedom and privacy are sacred—there’s no place for violence spurred on by hate or fear.

Know that I support legislation making attacks like these hate crimes. I’ve done it before. And I’ll do it again.

Montanans deserve no less. They see good in each other, do good for each other and respect each other despite their differences. That’s the Montana way.

(…and from Senator Baucus)

I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but I applaud your efforts. As Montanans and Americans, we value freedom and individual liberties. We respect those who have differing views, and we know that personal freedom and privacy is paramount.

That’s why I’ve supported hate crimes legislation in the Congress. And that’s why I stand with you today to make sure that no Montanan has to live in fear.

Jess Keith, a survivor of the attacks on November 4th, took the brave and courageous step of speaking before the crowd. She was introduced by her friend, Melissa Darnell, who made a trip up to Missoula for the rally from California. Reading her poem to the attackers, An Open Letter, Melissa thanked them for igniting a passion to fight such injustice, ending with:

to you I say:

your hate
your fear
your bigotry
your violence

empowers me
energizes me
encourages me
ignites me

and I am not alone.

Love.
Is.
Love.

and that is much
much
M U C H
stronger

than the f o u r
of you

(the piece is available in entirety on her blog.)

As a queer Montanan, I can’t begin to express the feeling of solidarity and support I felt standing with my fellow Missoulians. People were shocked. They were frightened. And they were full of resolve to make a difference in the lives of others they hardly knew anything about. There is still so much to be said of that evening, and so much more to be done in our struggle for civil rights. But I’ll end my first post on 4and20 with one realization from the rally,

I am not alone.

by jhwygirl

A coalition of more than 30 local organizations – including Forward Montana, Montana Human Rights Network, ACLU, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, and Hellgate High School Gay-Straight Alliance – are joining with the Western Montana Gay & Lesbian Community Center to hold a community rally tonight at The Badlander, from 5-8 p.m.

This event is being held in response to recent anti-gay violence in this community. The rally will include political speakers, short theatrical/dance performances and music. Filmakers from MCAT and Jane O’Holly Productions will record the event to help document stories from the LGBT people who have experienced some form of violence because of the sexual orientation or gender identity.

4&20 wrote about some of these violent attacks. We also speculated “Makes you wonder what it is that you don’t hear about.”

The local statistics are both shocking and disturbing. Jamie Greer writes:

According to the Missoula Police Department, current reports of hate and bias crimes against gay individuals are small in number. However, at the November 13 LAMBDA focus group on hate crimes, just 4 out of 30 community members and students had not been affected by some sort of anti-gay harassment or assault.

26 out of 30 experienced violence?!

Like I said – shocking and disturbing.

Here’s another one:

In 2006 the FBI attributed 19 percent of all violent attacks to be motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation.

One-fifth?!

If the FBI can compile statistics, maybe the Missoula Police Department should take note too.

Perhaps the Mayor can help with that.

~~~~~~~
We Are Missoula: Speak up, Stand OUT!
Where: The Badlander (at Ryman and Broadway, downtown)
When: Tonight, 5-8 p.m.
Cost: FREE! The event is open to everyone

by jhwygirl

These three guys are presiding over the Senate while the rest of ’em are taking a much needed rest.

Our own Senator Tester, though, is still at it – the man knows no rest it seems – having spent last Monday up on the border meeting with U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The three Senators above – Webb, Dorgan & Reed – are taking time away from their families in the name of – as Senator Webb (D-VA) put it – “an exercise of protecting the Constitution and our constitutional processes.”

This is because Bush had notified Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that he intended to fill some appointments during the Senate recess.

Recess appointments are a favorite of George Jr. – he’s made 167 of them, notable amongst them the controversial John Bolton, as U.S. representative to the United Nations. Bolton had faced a successful filibuster in the Senate due to allegations of his use – and abuse – of wiretappings of U.S. citizens. The Bush Administration backed up his man by refusing to release documents related to said wiretaps.

Bolton was put into place during the summer recess of August 2005. He resigned in December 2006, just before the swearing in of the new congress – when he would have had to face the new Senate for confirmation.

This time around, it is assumed the objet d’affection is Dr. James Holsinger, Bush’s nominee for the post of Surgeon General. Holsinger was nominated back in May, but it seems time hasn’t been right to bring the nomination forward. It won’t be. Holsinger is a homophobic nutcase who founded a church that ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay.

Wonder how they were recruited for that position? Ye-shall-burn-in-hell preaching abilities? Bet those guys and gals were at the top of that game.

Has he tried out his ministry on Mary Cheney yet?

These pro forma sessions may look silly – a lone Senator and 4 or 5 staff, sitting before an empty Senate floor, opening and closing the Senate in the space of less than 30 seconds – but they are important to protecting our constitutional process. They’re also important in protecting us from nutcases like Dr. James Holsinger.

Thank you Senator James Webb, Senator Byron Dorgan, Senator Jack Reed. You are appreciated.




  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,665,850 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,738 other followers

  • November 2018
    S M T W T F S
    « Oct    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • Categories