| It's a done deal:
In the wee hours Tuesday morning, the Missoula City Council adopted the first equality ordinance in Montana that protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
"Most of us can't remember civil rights in action," said Councilwoman Stacy Rye, an ordinance sponsor. "This is it for us. This is our lifetimes."
After a contentious city council meeting - live-blogged by jhwygirl here and here - the council voted 10 - 2 to approve the ordinance. (The Missoulian has a snippet of video online.)
Those in favor: Dave Strohmaier, Jason Wiener, Pam Walzer, Roy Houseman, Rye, Bob Jaffe, Jon Wilkins, Dick Haines, Ed Childers and Marilyn Marler.
Those against: Lyn Hellegaard, Renee Mitchell.
The highlight of the meeting came when Taryn Nash, daughter of Tei Nash - chair of Not My Bathroom, the group stirring up opposition to the ordinance by invoking cross-dressing child predators in Missoula bathrooms - stood up to out herself as a member of the LGBT to her father and spoke out in favor of the ordinance:
"You need to realize this crusade you are on is wrong, and it affects me personally," said Taryn Nash, who broke from her studies in Spokane to testify. "Right now I am ashamed to call you my father."
Love this from Mayor Engen, who spoke at the Caras Park diversity rally before the meeting:
"Some people think I recruited young people to promote my agenda, but these young people recruited me to support their agenda," Engen told the crowd. "These young folks don't need me to think for them, they think for themselves."
Engen then proclaimed Monday as Diversity Day in Missoula, in honor of a city "that is one of the most diverse in Montana, one that respects diversity as an important quality of a community, and understands that diversity of citizens cultivates a climate of understanding and acceptance."
A lot of people worked hard on this ordinance, including the good folks at Forward Montana, and council members Stacy Rye and Dave Strohmeier, who did the right thing by bringing this forward. But I think a special shout out goes to my good friend Jamee Greer of the Montana Human Rights Network who worked with the council on the ordinance and had to absorb a lot of personal attacks throughout the process.
I'm sure there are many I missed, living as far away as I am. Please be sure to add folks in the comments...