Councilman Dave Strohmaier released a draft of the anti-discrimination ordinance coming this spring to the Missoula City Council.
It starts off like this:
It is the intent of the City of Missoula that no person shall be denied his or her civil rights or be discriminated against based upon his or her actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, creed, sex, age, marital or familial status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
It lists several reasons the law is needed, including complaints of discrimination. One interesting argument offered is the health of the economy.
Discrimination creates strife and unrest and deprives the city of its full capacity for economic development by decreasing productivity and increasing demand for city services.
I was wondering what “public accommodation” meant, and there’s a long list of places that count, including “ice cream parlors.” Neat. Quaint. Would any of you fine readers care to join me on a jaunt to the ice cream parlor?
“Public accommodation” means a place that caters or offers its services, goods, or facilities to the general public subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable to all persons. It includes without limitation a public inn, restaurant, eating house, hotel, roadhouse, place where food or alcoholic beverages or malt liquors are sold for consumption, motel, soda fountain, soft drink parlor, tavern, nightclub, trailer park, resort, campground, barbering, cosmetology, electrology, esthetics, or manicuring salon or shop, bathroom, resthouse, theater, swimming pool, skating rink, golf course, cafe, ice cream parlor, transportation company, or hospital and all other public amusement and business establishments.
Another thing I bet we’ll hear about again is a requirement that businesses post notices.
Every employer, business, or entity subject to this chapter shall post in a conspicuous location a notice stating, “Discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, creed, sex, age, marital or familial status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression is prohibited by the Missoula Municipal Code.”
The Montana Human Rights Network is the lead organization promoting the ordinance, and organizer Jamee Greer has said he believes Missoula will adopt it unanimously. Salt Lake City did, after all.
In his email, Councilman Strohmaier also forwarded a referral along with word that Missoula will be breaking new ground.
“This is the first ordinance of its kind in the state of Montana,” Strohmaier said.
— Keila Szpaller