Montana’s transphobic bathroom bill was killed last night (27 March).
The state’s version of North Carolina’s infamous HB2 failed in the judiciary committee.
Called the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act, it would not have automatically forced trans people to use the bathroom matching the gender on their birth certificate,
Instead, HB609 would have triggered a referendum. The question would have been whether trans people should be allowed to use the locker and bathrooms matching their gender identity even if it doesn’t match their birth certificate.
In case of a ‘yes’, this would have meant citizens could use government agencies if they did not take ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure no member of the opposite sex used bath- or locker rooms.
It was killed in a 11-7 vote, with one member of the house abstaining.
The Montana Family Foundation, who supported the bill, said in a statement they now want to bring it forward as a ballot initiative.
Jeff Laszloffy, President of the foundation, said people ‘want to see privacy, safety and dignity protected in our locker rooms and showers’.
‘Girls shouldn’t have to shower in front of boys. It’s just common sense,’ he said.
‘We will take the Locker Room Privacy Act to the people and let them have their say.’
So far, they have done the same for two major laws: the protection of marriage between a man and a woman, and a law ‘requiring parental notification in the case of a minor seeking abortion’.
According to news website Missoulian most of the Representatives who vetoed the bill did so over business concerns, with a nod to North Carolina – which lost major sports events and music gigs after HB2 passed.
‘When we send a message like this, we’re sending a message to a lot of entertainers and other who want to come visit that we’re not a welcoming state,’ said Democratic Representative Virginia Court.
Others said if HB609 passed, the committee would eventually have blood on its hands.
‘When this law passes and people are taking their lives, that’s on us in this committee,’ said Shane Morigeau, also a Democrat.
‘When we see stories pop up in the paper, this committee is going to be responsible for that.’
Although the bill is dead, Glimm could revive it by blasting it on the House floor and effectively forcing a vote; he would have to do so by Thursday (30 March).