FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 1st, 2022
MDP Statement Celebrating Pride Month
Meanwhile, the MTGOP continue to abuse their power and dismantle rights of queer Montanans.
Helena, MT – Today marks the start of Pride Month, and the Montana Democratic Party is proud of the historic slate of queer Democratic candidates running for office this year. Making history is nothing new for Montana Democrats: Sen. Diane Sands (Missoula) was the first openly gay legislator in Montana’s state house in 1996, and her long career of advocacy and legislating has made the state a better home for many.
As Pride Month begins, we also remind Montanans that the Montana GOP is pursuing a radical, unpopular agenda to dismantle the rights of queer Montanans.
Governor Greg Gianforte has earned a reputation for being one of Montana’s most zealous financiers of organizations that oppose LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination policies. Since 2010, the Gianforte Family Foundation has given more than $1.1 million to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, which support outlawing homosexuality in the U.S. and gay conversion therapy.
During the 2021 session, the MTGOP legislators pushed 10 anti-LGBTQ+ bills. Thanks to tireless efforts by advocacy groups and their allies in the legislature, some of these bills died in committee. Some, however, were signed into law by the Governor, including:
- SB 215, so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could open the door for increased discrimination against LGBTQ people and others, by allowing Montana businesses to claim religious exemption from non-discrimination rules.
- SB 280, which makes it nearly impossible for trans and non-binary Montanans to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.
Attorney General Austin Knudsen and the Gianforte Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services have recently taken the unprecedented step to ignore a State District Court injunction of SB 280, reflecting how radical the MTGOP’s priorities are.
“On behalf of the Montana Democratic Party, I’m thrilled to wish everyone a happy Pride Month! This month we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their invaluable contributions to our communities in Montana,” says Sheila Hogan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “We also must recognize the Montana Republican Party’s continued assault on LGBTQ+ rights, the abuse of their power, and their efforts to strip people of their dignity and privacy. Their agenda is radically out of step with Montana values, and Montana Democrats will never stop fighting against it.”
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