MONTANA: Tea Party Rep Introduces Bill Overturning All Local LGBT Rights
Tea Party-backed Montana GOP Rep. Kristen Hansen has introduced a bill that would overturn all local LGBT rights laws in the state. The bill "limits all local rights ordinances to state-protected classes" of people. Montana House Bill 516. Via Montana Capitol Report, we learn that GOP lawmakers refused to allow opponents of the bill to be heard, even though anti-gay activists were heard from, including one pastor that called for the death penalty for homosexuality.
Opponents of the measure came from across the state to testify. Unfortunately, the Republican majority on the committee attempted to limit testimony on both sides of the issue to ten minutes. Democrats on the committee objected and even presented rules that require the public be able to at least verbally state their opposition to the bill. The Republicans on the committee ignored the rules, and refused to let opponents of the bill testify. In response to the GOP actions, Rep. Diane Sands (D-Missoula) took to reading the names of every opponent (all 50+) of the measure and asked them to stand and be acknowledged. After the hearing, opponents of the measure held their own hearing, next to the statue of Rep. Jeannette Rankin, where they allowed all of the opponents of the measure speak and be heard. During this informal hearing, Sen. Carol Williams and other Democratic lawmakers showed up to show their frustrations with the treatment of these Montanans that simply wanted to be heard.The above-linked story notes that other recent Montana bills allow cities to form local militias, call for the withdrawal from the United Nations, and allow for the carrying of handguns into banks and churches.
VIDEO: Pastor Harris Himes explains that homosexuality is an abomination worthy of being put to death and therefore gay people should not be rented homes in Montana.
VIDEO: After the hearing, Democrats gathered in a hallway to denounce having been shut out of the debate.