Yes. It's true. More states have laws on the books outlawing discrimination against smokers than have laws outlawing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Today I e-mailed an article to ACLU staff and board members about how more and more companies are refusing to employ smokers. One board member responded about how sad it is that more states protect smokers than protect LGBT people.
I couldn't agree more. According to today's USA Today story, 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws in the past 20 years protecting smokers' rights. Only 15 states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting LGBT discrimination. Another five prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This map breaks it all down.
Montana only has protections in terms of sexual orientation when it comes to public employment. Efforts to convince the Montana Legislature to make the state's Human Rights Act LGBT-inclusive have been unsuccessful. That's why the ACLU of Montana is participating in the Montana Human Rights Network-led campaign to address the issue on a city-by-city basis.
Missoula passed its nondiscrimination ordinance in 2010 and now we are working to get a similar ordinance passed in Helena. Please join us in supporting this campaign.