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What would Montana look like if the government could force you to say something you did not believe, or force you to participate in an activity that violates your conscience? It would forever change who we are as a people, and it’s closer to happening than you may think.
Forced Participation Ordinances (FPOs), or Non-Discrimination Ordinances (NDOs) as our opponents like to call them, supposedly ban discrimination of homosexuals, bisexuals and transvestites. FPOs have already passed in Missoula, Helena and Butte, and efforts are underway to pass them in Bozeman, Billings and Dillon, as well. Groups like Forward Montana, the ACLU and the Montana Human Rights Network, with major funding from out-of-state donors, are pushing hard to pass FPOs in as many cities as possible before the next legislative session. We’ve killed these laws in the legislature for over a decade, so our opponents are changing tactics. They hope to pass them in as many cities as possible between now and January and then use the momentum to get the legislature to pass a state-wide law.
What they really do is –
- Trample Religious Freedom
- Threaten public safety
- Grant more power to municipal courts than they are supposed to have
In other states where these ordinances have passed, Christian business owners –
- have had their businesses shut down and threatened with jail time for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings (Washington, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico)
- have been fined for refusing to print t-shirts that promote Gay Pride (Kentucky)
- have been sanctioned for saying they do not support same-sex marriage (Vermont)
The public has also had to endure men who say they’re women exposing themselves to young girls in public showers and locker rooms (Washington, Colorado).
Is this right?
Is this what we want Montana to become?
The Montana Family Foundation is currently fighting FPO’s in three cities, and just last week we won a major victory. “Not in Our Town,” a once venerable group in Billings, which has since been hijacked by pro-homosexual activists, tried to get the Billings City Council to give them $25,000 to host a conference in June of this year. Ironically, their conference is being held at the exact same time and place as the Republican Convention, thus putting pressure on lawmakers to pass a statewide law. We got word of the request, and 50 of our supporters showed up to tell the City Council that taxpayer money should not be used to promote political agendas. The outcry resulted in a Billings Gazette editorial urging the City Council to reject the request. This proves that good things happen when citizens get involved.
Butte was the last easy win our opponents will have. The ordinance is stalled in Bozeman and Dillon, and a group has already formed to oppose it in Billings. We need to remind government officials that there’s a big difference between true tolerance and forced participation. True tolerance is what we have now. In fact, Montana is so tolerant that our opponents have trouble pointing to any examples of discrimination. The Missoula ordinance was passed three years ago and the Helena ordinance was passed nearly two years ago, and neither has been used. Not even once. If this becomes state law, Montana’s live-and-let-live attitude will give way to forced participation, and Christians will become targets.
by the Montana Family Foundation
April 3, 2014
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