Nondiscrimination Ordinance Draft for Bozeman Released - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Nondiscrimination Ordinance Draft for Bozeman Released

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BOZEMAN - The City of Bozeman released a draft of the proposed ordinance that would ban gender and sexuality discrimination in Bozeman.

It's expected to be such a hot topic that Bozeman City Commissioners will devote their entire Monday meeting to it.

Deputy Mayor Carson Taylor wrote the ordinance based off similar ones now in effect in Helena, Missoula and Butte.

Under the proposed ordinance, religious schools, organizations and institutions are exempt from complying with the ordinance.

Taylor said in a summary the way the ordinance is written right now, private businesses must follow the ordinance but the commission could add wording that would allow some businesses to be exempt.

The summary says the exemption would apply to creative businesses, such as a photographer, who could deny taking pictures of a gay couple's wedding if it was against their religious beliefs.

One point the commission will discuss: how public accommodations such as bathrooms and locker rooms will be handled, which is the biggest difference between different cities’ ordinances.

The Helena ordinance states, "Public accommodations where users ordinarily appear in the nude, users may be required to use the facilities designated for their anatomical sex, regardless of their gender identity.” But that could still pose problems for transgender individuals.

The drafted ordinance for Bozeman would not allow businesses to prevent transgender individuals to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice.

Taylor said in the summary that he left a phrase like out that because having a similar phrase could be problematic to business owners and isn't really enforceable.

The Missoula and Butte ordinances also don't single out restrooms and locker rooms.

The city commission meeting will start at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.



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