It’s official – Bozeman, Mont., has an LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination ordinance.
There had been months of heated debate about the measure, but Monday’s final approval came quickly and quietly. “A few dozen people who turned out in support of the ordinance, many wearing white stickers with green lettering that read ‘Support! Fairness Dignity Security,’ sat silently as commissioners swiftly cast their votes for the ordinance,” the Chronicle reports. “No one spoke during public comment.”
“It was appropriately anticlimactic because this community is an open and welcoming one and the Bozeman commission recognizes that,” the Rev. Greg Smith, who is gay, told the paper.
The ordinance, which bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, goes into effect 30 days from the vote. It covers employment, housing, and public accommodations. Bozeman, home to Montana State University, becomes the fourth city in the state with such a law, joining Missoula, Helena, and Butte. Advocates are working toward passing a similar measure in Billings.
Gov. Steve Bullock issued this statement after the vote: “Tonight, Bozeman has shown important leadership in protecting their residents and visitors from discrimination. Discrimination is bad for the state’s economy and businesses, as well as contrary to the freedoms we expect as Montanans. I encourage other Montana communities to follow suit in the near future.” Bullock, a Democrat, has also said he supports the couples who last month filed a suit seeking marriage equality in Montana.
Equality Is Good for Bozeman, a group that backed the ordinance, will celebrate its passage by hosting an ice cream social in a public park next Wednesday, with free ice cream and music by a local disc jockey.