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I would like to thank John Odermott for his response to my letter regarding the lack of need for a nondiscrimination ordinance in Billings (The Billings Gazette, Jan. 27, 2019).

His letter supports my point, not his.

He recalls “last winter’s episodes of anti-Semitic and homophobic vandalism…” He seems to have forgotten that Billings rose up against those acts; that the newspaper soundly excoriated the bad actors and that the police actively sought the perpetrators. Here’s the point: It is already illegal to discriminate in these ways. There is no need for a new law. There is no need for a special class of citizens.

I notice that the original plea for a nondiscrimination ordinance did not mention Jews. They are already protected under the Constitution. But if the goal is to create a list, in law, of everyone that is protected then the Jews must be listed. If the Jews are listed, then the Muslims must be listed. If the Muslims are listed, then the Lutherans must be listed. If the Lutherans are listed, then the Catholics must be listed. When writing law this quickly becomes absurd.

If the LGBTs are in the list of specially classed citizens, who has been left out? Which gender or sexual orientation will feel offended and sue the city for not representing them as a special class? I am simply arguing for laws of common sense. The Constitution already prohibits discrimination against sex, and religion. Mr. Odermott has reminded us that Billings readily agrees.

Terry Forke


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