MTPR

Conservative Group Calls For Government Regulation Of Bathrooms

Jun 21, 2017

A conservative group wants Montana voters to decide whether to regulate transgender people's access to bathrooms and locker rooms.

The proposed 2018 ballot initiative by the Montana Family Foundation would require people use public facilities designated for their gender at birth.

But critics warn the measure would embroil the state in anti-discrimination lawsuits, while others argue the state could lose millions of dollars in business.

Kim Abbott is the co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network.

“I think it sounds scary to the community. You know, when you see things that elevate suspicion around who you are and whether or not you should be able to fairly and equally participate in your community. It’s really worrisome,” Abbott says.

The Montana Family Foundation says the effort is meant to protect "the privacy, safety and dignity" of Montanans and guard against possible sexual predators.

If successful, it would thrust Montana into the national debate over gay and transgender rights.

The measure is being reviewed by the attorney general's office and the governor's budget office. State lawmakers rejected a similar bill earlier this year.