Shared State: Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney and Greg Gianforte Are “As Far Apart as Montana is Wide” on LGBTQ, Women’s Reproductive Rights

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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Shared State: Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney and Greg Gianforte Are “As Far Apart as Montana is Wide” on LGBTQ, Women’s Reproductive Rights

Gianforte has “given millions to groups that oppose LGBTQ rights and [access to] abortion.”

Helena, MT – Today, Shared State, a podcast collaboration between MTPR, YPR, and the Montana Free Press, is examining Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney and Greg Gianforte’s respective records on LGBTQ and women’s reproductive rights. As noted by the podcast, “Cooney has a pretty clear track record on reproductive and gay rights,” while Greg Gianforte has “given millions to groups that oppose LGBTQ rights and [access to] abortion.”

While Cooney has repeatedly voted against legislation designed to restrict women’s access to health care, “Gianforte’s foundation gave over $1 million to crisis pregnancy centers in Montana… clinics [that] have been criticized – and even sued – for misleading women.”

The podcast also notes that Cooney is endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, “one of the country’s strongest advocacy groups for LGBTQ people.” On the other hand, Gianforte has donated millions of dollars to prominent Christian groups that vocally oppose LGBTQ rights like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council (an SPLC designated hate group), and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Harris Funeral Homes at the Supreme Court after they fired an employee for being transgender.

Beyond his prolific donations, Gianforte has also fought against protections for LGBTQ people in Montana. In Congress, Gianforte voted against the Equality Act, and in 2014, Gianforte personally lobbied Bozeman officials to reject a ban on discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing and employment. Gianforte warned that if the measure passed, businesses would be wary about moving to towns that are “friendly to homosexuals.” 

“Mike Cooney has been a champion for equality throughout his entire career, and that’s what he’ll continue to do as Montana’s next governor,” said MDP Deputy Communications Director Matt Fidel. “Greg Gianforte’s extreme record of bigotry and discrimination have no place in Montana – voters will reject his out-of-touch views this November.” 

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