Montana refuses to follow other states following religious discrimination

House Bill 615 dealing in religious based discrimination laws could not be passed by the Montana House, as it deadlocked on a 50-50 vote. The bill would have allowed business owners to deny services to gay and lesbian customers. A similar law (Indiana SB 101) was signed in private on March 26, 2015, by Governor Mike Pence in the State of Indiana as the bill would prevent state and local governments from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion unless the government can prove it has a compelling interest and is doing so in the least restrictive means. HB 615 could also have opened an indefinite number of opportunities for bigots to discriminate against other people in the cover of religion. For example, the introduction of this law could have made it possible for a doctor to deny treatment to an HIV patient that happened to be a gay.

The vote fell mostly on party lines with 41 democrats voting against the law compared to 50 republicans promoting the passing of law with 9 republicans voting against it and joining the democrats for the same. The debate heated up with democrats raising a number of objections to the aforementioned legislation. Representative Margie MacDonald hoisted up a copy of The White Man’s Bible, for the Racist Church of the Creator arguing that the language in the bill would legalize anything done in the name of religious belief system.

Following the debate, the democrats stayed unified in opposition further followed up by 9 republicans along with the democrats dead locking at a 50-50 vote. Montana has taken a different move by avoiding this legislation that has legalized discrimination in so many states, namely Arkansas (2015 SB 975, enacted April 2, 2015), Alabama (Ala. Const. Art. I, §3.01), Arizona (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §41-1493.01), Connecticut (Conn. Gen. Stat. §52-571b), Florida (Fla. Stat. §761.01, et seq.), Idaho (Idaho Code §73-402), Illinois (Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 775, §35/1, et seq.), Indiana (2015 SB 101, enacted March 26, 2015; 2015 SB 50, enacted April 2, 2015); Kansas (Kan. Stat. §60-5301, et seq.,) Kentucky (Ky. Rev. Stat. §446.350), Louisiana (La. Rev. Stat. §13:5231, et seq.), Mississippi (Miss. Code §11-61-1), Missouri (Mo. Rev. Stat. §1.302), New Mexico (N.M. Stat. §28-22-1, et seq.), Oklahoma (Okla. Stat. tit. 51, §251, et seq.), Pennsylvania (Pa. Stat. tit. 71, §2403), Rhode Island (R.I. Gen. Laws §42-80.1-1, et seq.),  South Carolina (S.C. Code §1-32-10, et seq.), Tennessee (Tenn. Code §4-1-407), Texas (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Remedies Code §110.001, et seq.) and Virginia (Va. Code §57-1, et seq.). As per the situation in Montana, discrimination seems to be a bad idea as it would take away the right of every individual to be treated equally in each and every aspect.



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