Helena has a wonderful chance to be the second city in Montana to protect people seeking jobs, accommodations and housing from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The nondiscrimination ordinance being considered by the Helena City Council is that opportunity.

Soon you will have the opportunity to  stand in support of this ordinance.

The LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance is about fairness. Our strength as a community is based on everyone having an equal and fair opportunity to find a job, secure housing and frequent public establishments.

A similar ordinance passed in Missoula in 2010 and has been a resounding success.

On Monday, a group of people spoke out against the ordinance during the public comment period at the Helena City Council meeting. Some said there is no need for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to have protections.

But then, those same ordinance opponents' comments clearly demonstrated just how much this ordinance is needed. One woman talked about "gender confusion" and "perversion" and about the ordinance being a way for pedophiles and rapists to enter public restrooms. Outrageous!

It's just these kinds of remarks that prove the discrimination LGBT people face in Helena and across Montana and the nation. Helena's nondiscriminaton ordinance is a way to ensure that they won't be kicked out of their homes, fired from jobs or denied public accomdations simply for being who they are.

This ordinance matches our community's values of treating people with dignity and respect.

Please take action to support Helena's nondiscrimination ordinance.

The Montana Human Rights Network is asking people to pledge to testify at the upcoming public hearing on the ordinance. Please do so today.