HELENA — On the same day that the Montana Supreme Court rejected an “overly broad” request that same-sex couples be given the same rights and benefits of opposite-sex couples, the Helena City Council unanimously passed an ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations.
According to the Helena Independent Record, though gender identity is covered under some of the provisions of the ordinance, a late amendment to the bill would bar trans residents from using restrooms corresponding to their gender identity. Still, many LGBT Montanans called the passage a victory.
Earlier in the day, the Montana Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision dismissing a suit brought by same-sex couples alleging discrimination by the state for denying benefits to same-sex couples that are offered to opposite-sex couples. According to the Missoulian, however, the court extended the offer to the couples to modify their arguments and try the suit again.
The court wrote that the gay couples want the court to intervene “without identifying a specific statute or statutes that impose the discrimination they allege,” but write that the complaint can be re-filed with lower courts if advocates more specifically cite state laws that are unconstitutional.