(This post originally appeared HERE on the HRC Blog.)
The Montana Board of Regents, yesterday, unanimously approved adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the State University System’s non-discrimination policy, affecting all campuses and over 50,000 teachers, faculty and students. These protections come at a time when no statewide pro-LGBT laws exist.
On the same day, the Missoula City Council unanimously passed a resolution to create a domestic partnership registry to cover same-sex couples and unmarried opposite-sex couples. Caitlin Copple, Montana’s only openly-LGBT councilperson, sponsored the resolution. Although no state level LGBT policies exist, this resolution covers almost 67,000 of one million Montana residents.
Domestic Partner Registries offer limited, but important, protections to people who register their partnership with the city. Missoula will be rated in HRC’s upcoming 2013 Municipal Equality Index and is on track to be a leader in municipal equality. Last night’s success reflects a movement that is happening at the local level in many cities across the country – cities are stepping up where states have not and are ensuring the LGBT people who live and work in those cities are afforded basic protections. Check out HRC’s Municipal Equality Index to see the ways that many cities can – and do – bring equality home.