I-183 'bathroom bill' fails to qualify for ballot

Leaders of a local nonprofit say they are celebrating the defeat of the I-183 ballot initiative, which failed to qualify for the November ballot. I-183 would have restricted Montanans to the locker rooms, changing rooms, restrooms, and shower rooms of their sex assigned at birth. 

I-183 was supported by the Montana Family Foundation, a conservative group that has previously pushed for so-called "bathroom bill" measures in the Montana State Legislature.

The Free & Fair Coalition is a group of community members and nonprofits who formed to defeat I-183. 

“We are thrilled, although not surprised, to learn this harmful measure failed to qualify for the November ballot. The work we have been engaged in for the last several months to organize our community and educate Montanans about this measure being inconsistent with our shared values has won the day,” said Free & Fair Coalition Chairperson Marina Connor in a press release. “Montanans sent a clear message that they stand with the transgender and non-binary community and will not tolerate hate and bigotry in the Treasure State. 

The Free & Fair Coalition will continue the fight for their beliefs past the defeat of I-183. They've formed TransVisible, the first Montana resourced organization to be led by transgender and non-binary people and say they will continue building their base of grassroots advocates to stand up to future discrimination. 

The coalition has its share of outside support; ACLU of Montana, Forward Montana, Montana Gender Alliance, Montana Human Rights Network, Montana Women Vote, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana all provide organizational support to the Free & Fair Coalition. 

In celebration of the defeat of I-183, the No on I-183 campaign will be announcing a community celebration soon, as well as future organizing opportunities. 

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