LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Montana:
There are currently no explicit, comprehensive statewide non-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people in Montana. Public employees and government contractors in Montana are protected via a series of executive orders from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (2000, 2008, 2016).
The Latest on LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Montana:
Work continues, in the legislature and in communities throughout Montana, to bring the state’s laws in line with the values of its residents, who support protecting LGBT people from discrimination. In January 2016, Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order protecting LGBT state employees and government contractors from discrimination, adding to several previous executive orders bringing progress for LGBT Montanans.
History of LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Montana:
- 1976: The Michigan Legislature passes the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status in employment, housing, education, and access to public accommodations.
- December 22, 2000: Republican Governor Marc Racicot issues an executive order protecting state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- 2000-2008: Local and national organizations engage in conversations about who LGBT Montanans are, and support for fully comprehensive non-discrimination grows.
- November 14, 2008: Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer issues a strengthened executive order protecting state employees and government contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- April 14, 2010: Missoula becomes the first municipality in Montana to protect residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity when the City Council approved an LGBT equality ordinance. Over the next several years, several other cities and counties throughout the state pass local ordinances protecting people from discrimination, building momentum toward statewide legislation.
- February 23, 2011: The Montana House of Representatives approves a bill that would prohibit local municipalities from enacting ordinances or policies that protect residents from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, stripping these municipalities of local control to protect their own residents. The bill moves through the Senate Local Government Committee but does not advance in the full Senate.
- January 30, 2015: The Montana Senate holds a hearing on a bill that would expand the state’s Human Rights Act to include prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A committee does not advance the bill, but it furthers an important conversation across the state about why no one should face discrimination because of who they are.
- January 19, 2016: Democratic Governor Steve Bullock issues an executive order protecting state employees and government contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- August 4, 2016: The Montana Supreme Court rules to effectively uphold an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in Bozeman, MT by affirming a lower court’s dismissal of a challenge to the ordinance.
State/Agency Policies on LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Montana:
Executive orders signed by Montana Governors Brian Schweitzer and Steve Bullock in 2008 and 2016 prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, respectively, in state employment and government contracting.
Municipalities with LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Montana:
The following municipalities protect people from discrimination in employment on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression:
- County of Silver Bow
Last Updated February 15, 2018