We are writing to urge the passage of a nondiscrimination ordinance by the Billings City Council.
Billings was recently ranked No. 1 for job satisfaction and No. 15 for overall well-being. John Brewer, of the Billings Chamber of Commerce, greeted this news happily, and said that "It shows that our city is a healthy, safe place to live."
We don't believe, however, that Billings is always a healthy, safe place to live for those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and who have no legal protection against job loss, housing discrimination or other forms of discrimination. This is particularly sad to us because Billings is the "Not in Our Town" city, where opposition to discrimination and inequality have been core values.
We're not advocating that anyone should get special treatment but, rather, that all of us get equal treatment. Isn't that the American way? And isn't that the way of a town that bravely stood up, faced hatred 20 years ago, and said, "No, not in our town." Codifying this core value of fairness with an NDO is simply the right and the fair thing to do.
It's been our observation over the years that the ultimate maturity is kindness. Of course, you can't legislate a value such as kindness, but you can legislate equality and fairness with the passage of a Non-Discrimination Ordinance. Won't you please do so?
Karen Kinser and Michael Mason