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City Council must act for common good

2014-07-18T00:00:00Z 2014-07-19T18:43:04Z City Council must act for common good The Billings Gazette
July 18, 2014 12:00 am

I can appreciate the pressure under which our City Council now finds itself. Two very vocal factions with little common ground are speaking for and against a nondiscrimination ordinance. To make a decision of any kind will alienate and anger one of these sides.

I notice that both sides include leaders from faith communities. Each claims to represent the values of their faith in pursuing their goals. But it is not the job of the City Council to decide which version of Christianity is the correct one. The City Council must govern with concern for the well-being of all of our citizens, without regard for the approval or disapproval of religious bodies.

I would just like to note that proponents of the NDO are offering a vision in which everyone who lives in Billings has the same rights and lives by the same rules. Opponents of the NDO have not offered a vision where gay and transgender people have equal access to housing, employment, and places of business. At best, they say that discrimination is not a problem. Of course, if discrimination is not a problem in Billings, then a nondiscrimination ordinance would not ever need to be enforced.

The truth is, in the 21st century, bigotry and prejudice hide behind the argument that bigotry and prejudice do not exist. If you take time to listen to the experience of sexual minorities, you know that this is simply not true. I hope that our City Council will not be intimidated by religious voices claiming the special right to discriminate and will instead act for the common good.

Eric Thorson


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