I must admit that the past several weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster with the low being the forced legalization of same-sex marriage by a single Montana judge. Some people are saying that the battle for the family is over – we’ve lost. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Montanans are not giving up and victories are still possible. Case in point, three weeks ago an organizer for the radical group Forward Montana said in a symposium at Montana State University, that they were working to pass a so-called Non Discrimination Ordinance (NDO) in Whitefish. Remember, these NDO’s claim to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the areas of housing, public accommodation, and employment. What they really do is open the door to harassment of Christians and other people of faith who simply want to live their lives according to God’s word. Across the nation people have been fined, seen their businesses destroyed, and have been threatened with jail time for not embracing and participating in homosexual marriages. In the recent case of a Colorado baker, he and his entire staff were sent to sensitivity training for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. Remember, it’s not the job of government to tell people that God’s word is null and void. Government cannot tell you what to believe—that is, in effect, an establishment of religion – and it’s immoral and unconstitutional. Now back to our victory.
For the past five years the NDO movement has been moving across Montana like a juggernaut. They passed and NDO in Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Bozeman. Then, they hit a brick wall. They were killed in Billings and Dillon, then the citizens of Bozeman filed suit to have theirs overturned, and that case is still pending. The next step was Whitefish, where the proponents thought they had a good chance because of the makeup of the city council. Over a hundred people showed up at the hearing and in the end, all they could get was a simple resolution. No law, no ordinance, no teeth—just a simple statement by the council that says in part, “the Whitefish City Council declares its support of Whitefish community values that recognize and celebrate the dignity, diversity, and inclusion of all its inhabitants and visitors”. Perfect, that’s what we all believe. It doesn’t grant special privileges to one group over another and it doesn’t allow people to be persecuted or harassed for their religious beliefs. As a legislator once said, resolutions have as much power as a letter to Santa Claus. Everyone gets to feel good without having done anything. In this case, it truly was a letter to Santa Claus, but it’s the families of Whitefish who got the present. They get to keep their religious freedom, at least for the moment.
Now the battle moves back to the legislature where bills to do the same thing have already been drafted. Unlike municipal level NDO’s, these laws have real teeth, big fines and big jail time. We’ve managed to kill them for the past 15 years and we’ll do it again this session with your help. We’ll tell you how when the time comes.