Anti-LGBTQ Campaign to Force Transgender Discrimination onto the Ballot Fails in Montana

By Adam Polaski • June 30, 2018 • 12:32 pm

Today news broke that opponents of LGBTQ equality in Montana failed to submit the necessary number of signatures to qualify a discriminatory anti-transgender ballot measure proposed for the November 2018 election.

The Billings Gazette reported that organizers “appear to have mustered fewer than 10,000 of the 25,468 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.”

The ballot initiative, I-183, was an attack on transgender and nonbinary Montanans, seeking to prevent transgender and nonbinary Montanans from participating in certain aspects of public life in communities across the state. Like other laws and ballot measures that have been proposed in various states and localities, I-183 aimed to capitalize on the fears and uncertainties of voters and target Montana’s transgender community. Thankfully the Treasure State will not be forced to undergo months of shameful and divisive anti-transgender rhetoric now that the campaign has failed to qualify for the ballot.

Free & Fair Montana have led a strong campaign for months to defeat the proposed ballot initiative.

SK Rossi, Director of Advocacy and Policy for ACLU of Montana, said today:

“Transgender and non-binary Montanans have been powerful examples of bravery and authenticity in leading the fight against I-183. We anchored our campaign against I-183 in the voices of the community most impacted by this costly and unnecessary measure. And in those voices, people heard their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.”

Anti-transgender opponents may have failed to qualify for the ballot in Montana, but earlier this year they succeeded in placing a divisive measure on the ballot in Massachusetts. In November, voters statewide will be asked to vote YES on a measure to defend and uphold comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in the Bay State. It is the first-ever statewide ballot initiative in the United States centered specifically on transgender people.

We are hopeful that voters in Massachusetts follow in the footsteps of the people of Anchorage, Alaska, which in April decisively rejected an attempt at the ballot to discriminate against transgender people. By sharing the stories of transgender people and confronting voters’ concerns head-on, the Fair Anchorage campaign was able to dispel myths about transgender people, help the community better understand who transgender people are and why discrimination hurts, and defeat anti-LGBTQ opponents’ harmful efforts to discriminate.

The Freedom for All Massachusetts campaign is an innovative and fresh campaign that is uniting Massachusetts residents statewide in support of a YES vote in November. Freedom For All Americans is proud to be a founding and leading member of FFAM — in addition to providing in-kind support and staff, including President of Strategy Kasey Suffredini serves as campaign co-chair.

Learn more about the fight for LGBTQ protections in Massachusetts with Freedom for All Massachusetts.


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