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Montana Anti-Trans Healthcare Bill is Narrowly defeated

HB 112
Rep Fuller wrote HB112 in response to trans athlete June Eastwood’s success in cross country track. Fuller told the MTFP that he was aware that Eastwood had tried to commit suicide early in life due to transphobic restrictions, the same kind that HB 112 will impose  on other trans athletes.

In a major victory Tuesday the Montana House voted for the third and final time to defeat HB 113, legislature designed to deny trans youth gender-affirming health care. The vote came after members heard hours of passionate, educated testimony against it, and proponents of it, gaslight in support of it.

Wednesday the house will vote on HB 112 the second of Rep. Fuller’s bills which would require students to participate in sports according to the sex they are assigned at birth.

The final vote against HB 113 came after five more Republicans reversed their stances, making the final vote count 49 in favor, 51 opposed. Those who voted against it have until the close of business Wednesday to change their minds.

“The trans and nonbinary community is strong and so are our families, friends, and supporters,” said SK Rossi, one of the lead lobbyists opposing the bill on behalf of the cities of Missoula and Bozeman.

Montana free press reports that the Republicans who decided to change their votes did not make the decision lightly.

“I’ve been watching this bill and studying this bill for a few weeks now, trying to carefully consider all sides,” said Majority Leader Sue Vinton, R-Billings, who had voted in favor of the bill on Monday. “Everyone who voted, whether it was a yes or a no, was doing so out of care and consideration for children.”

Rep. Denley Loge, R-St. Regis, also changed his mind on the bill over the last 24 hours, saying he came to see it as an overreach by the Legislature into the purview of medical professionals. The bill would also prohibit providers from referring patients to receive gender-affirming care elsewhere and enact strict punishments against physicians who violate the measure.

“There was just too much stepping in,” Loge said, adding that he has family members who work in the medical field. “Plus, there are some family values that need to be considered on the parents’ side.”

Loge and Vinton both acknowledged that their most recent votes may be controversial.

“It was a struggle and you can’t win,” Loge said. “It’s bad to some and good to some, but that’s what we’re here for. Not necessarily here for the popularity contest.”

Many politicians perceive it differently, voting along party lines means a better chance at re-election.

Montana’s HB 112 “Save Women’s Sports Act” is in contravention to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that “that a person’s “sex” is defined by gender identity, not by biological gender.”

On Inauguration Day President Biden signed an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation

President Biden’s order means that this administration is prepared to vigorously defend and enforce the legal protections that LGBTQ people enjoy under federal law. Every state considering anti-trans bills barring trans people from sports must now consider that they will face a U.S. government that is not facilitating anti-trans discrimination but actually enforcing Title IX’s protections to stop it.

Here are the GOP legislators who voted no on HB 113 today. Please thank them and ask them to vote NO on HB 112, we don’t want to spend millions defending bigotry.

Marta Bertoglio
(406) 438-1772

Edward Buttrey
(406) 452-6460

Geraldine Custer
(406) 351-1235

Ross Fitzgerald
(406) 467-2032

Gregory Frazer
(406) 560-4707

Frank Garner
(406) 471-7197

Kenneth Holmlund
(406) 234-2956

Mike Hopkins
(406) 531-1775

Casey Knudsen
(406) 390-0274

Denley Loge
(406) 649-2368

Wendy McKamey
(406) 866-3300

Bill Mercer
(406) 698-1671

Brian Putnam
(406) 233-9463

Mallerie Stromswold
(406) 670-0698

Vinton, Sue
(406) 855-2625

Kenneth Walsh
(406) 684-5624

Kathy Whitman
(406) 207-4709

Tom Welch
(406) 683-4811

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender