Posted: Sep 5, 2012 1:12 PM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
HELENA - Helena's city attorney has drafted a non-discrimination ordinance meant to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. If passed, the Capital would join Bozeman and Missoula, which passed LBGT-protecting laws in recent years.
On Wednesday, the commission will be reviewing the draft that will try to cover the gaps based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and familial status.
Commissioner Katherine Haque-Hausrath is pushing for these protections for the LGBT community against discrimination, but in her research, she found another group unprotected by law.
She explained, "Montana law protects against discrimination on the basis of marital status, so you can't be discriminated against if you're married, but if you're a single mother, for example, then you can be openly discriminated against under current law. And I think that's wrong."
The draft states: "...it is the intent of the City of Helena that no person shall be denied his or her civil rights or be discriminated against based upon his or her actual or perceived familial status (for employment), sexual orientation or gender identity or expression."
And these are the forms of discrimination included:
- Employment Discrimination Prohibited
- Discrimination in Public Accommodations Prohibited
- Housing Discrimination Prohibited
- Discrimination in Educational Institutions Prohibited
- Retaliation Prohibited
Commissioner Haque Hausrath said it's about protecting people who have frequently faced the following: "A history of discrimination and unfair treatment. That treatment is typically based on stereotypes rather than actual differences."
That's why she is trying to include familial status as a protected class.
"It isn't presently covered, expressly as a protected class for purposes of employment under either state or federal law," said City Attorney Jeffrey Hindoien.
He expects there may be some public opinions that follow the discussion surrounding the non-discrimination draft.
"Probably on maybe some disagreements over expanding what are now accepted protected classes under state and federal law. And perceptions and perspectives that these really aren't classifications that are equivalent to that and that there isn't, I think in some respects some folks don't feel there is necessarily a need for this," he said.