What Both Sides Are Saying About the NDO - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

What Both Sides Are Saying About the NDO

Posted: Updated:

It’s the hot button issue people are talking about: the non-discrimination ordinance.

Both sides of the proposed NDO are working to educate the community about it. Supporters say discrimination is nothing new in the community.

"It’s not about special privileges,” said Eran Thompson, Not in Our Town chair and NDO supporter. “It’s about equality. It’s about dignity, fairness and equality. That our community is one of inclusion and we want to make sure everybody feels safe here."

But opponents say it's a part of a larger agenda to get it into state law.

"What the other side wants to do is get enough cities to pass these that they can claim they have momentum and use those cities as leverage to put the issue back in front of the legislature,” said Jeff Laszloffy, Montana Family Foundation’s president and CEO and former state representative.

They also say it will have unintended consequences, like violating others' religious freedom. And opponents insist the city doesn't have the legal authority to enact such an ordinance.

"If it passes, it's going to invite a lawsuit,” Laszloffy said. “It’s going to invite a recall petition and it's also going to invite people to vote no on all mill levy increases including the public safety mill levy increase that's being proposed."

But supporters say the city has the authority and are urging the council to move forward.

"I just never think it's a good idea to put a civil rights issue for a popular vote,” Thompson said. “We do not subject the minority to the will of the majority. That’s not how civil rights works. If we'd had done that in the 1960s and the 1950s I probably would not be allowed to be here today."

The next time the ordinance will be discussed is during the July 7 work session.