Helena, Montana The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called on Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte to veto the LGBTQ Erasure Act (S. 458), legislation that aims to strip away dozens of legal protections and rights for LGBTQ+ Montanans creating a colossal step backwards for LGBTQ+ people at a time when legislative assaults are at an all-time high. Earlier this week, Gianforte's own son, David, joined a growing chorus of voices calling on the Governor to veto this discriminatory legislation.
If signed into law, the LGBTQ Erasure Act will prohibit LGBTQ+ people from bringing claims of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in areas like employment, housing, public accommodations, health care, credit, and education. It would also require applications and records such as marriage license, death certificates, cemetery interment records, and child support registration to list sex based on type of gametes, eggs, or sperm rather than gender identity. The bill doubles down on the state ban on transgender students participating in sports consistent with their gender identity and the ban on marriage for same-sex couples (which is unenforceable). On top of their legislative attacks, Republican legislators deliberately misgendered State Rep. Zooey Zephyr during debate last week and are now denying her the opportunity to speak on the House floor.
Further, the bill headed to Gianforte's desk may pose broader dangers to LGBTQ+ people across the country. If it becomes a framework for discrimination in other state legislatures, it will also open an unprecedented legal can of worms. Non-partisan fiscal analysis from Montana's Legislative Fiscal Division indicates if signed into law the bill will risk the state's federal funding of $7.5 billion half of the state's budget.
Human Rights Legal Director Sarah Warbelow issued the following statement today:
"The LGBTQ Erasure Act is dangerous, reckless, and discriminatory. It's so extreme that it could jeopardize a significant portion of Montana's annual budget if it becomes law. It's mind-boggling that extremist politicians continue to push the envelope in their efforts to attack our community no matter the consequences. This bill should not become law."
So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 210 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
—More than 120 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 12 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Dakota.
—More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,
—More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.