Monday, January 18, 2016

Montana's Gov. Steve Bullock Announces LGBT Protections Via Executive Order


Montana's Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by announcing an executive order protecting LGBT folks in the state.

Via press release:

In a press conference earlier today Governor Bullock celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. day by noting that it is time to “recommit to King’s values of compassion and equity” by expanding protections for LGBT people in Montana. He also spoke to Montana’s private business owners, stating “while an executive order applies to state government only I encourage private businesses to examine their policies as well.”

“Discrimination in any form is wrong, and through his actions today, Governor Bullock has taken a bold step to expand equality and fairness for all,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We commend him for doing everything in his administrative power to fight for the rights of LGBT Montanans, and hope his actions encourage other government officials to make safeguarding protections for all residents and visitors a priority.”

Currently there is no federal law or regulation that explicitly bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and Montana is one of 31 states where people are at risk of being fired or refused employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Human Rights Campaign adds:

The executive order, which goes into effect immediately, will direct Montana’s Department of Administration to ensure that state agencies, state contractors and subcontractors do not discriminate in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The order also bans discrimination in the provision of government services, and calls for inclusive non-discrimination and harassment prevention programs with an emphasis on cultural diversity.

In 2008, former Governor Brian Schweitzer issued an executive order that protected state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Today, Governor Bullock continues Schweitzer’s pro-equality legacy by extending those same protections based on gender identity, and banning discrimination on both bases by state contractors and subcontractors.

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