Here we go again:
In a bid to shoot down the city of Missoula's newly adopted equality ordinance, NotMyBathroom.com chairman Tei Nash filed a petition Thursday to suspend the law and place it on the ballot.
"It's going to be sent out for referendum so that the public can vote on it," Nash said shortly after submitting the paperwork to the Missoula County Elections Office.
I don't know what this guy has got against gays - especially considering his daughter is gay - but whatever it is, it's serious, and it's going to plague us through the summer.
To succeed in putting the measure to a public vote, NotMyBathroom.com supporters must gather signatures from 15 percent of the voters registered in the city of Missoula. Chief Clerk and Recorder Vickie Zeier said that's 7,391 verified signatures.
Dallas Erickson of Montana HOME - Help Our Moral Environment - said in the past he has collected more than 7,000 signatures in the Bitterroot for another effort. Erickson, of Stevensville, also has been leadingNotMyBathroom.com and is a tireless crusader for his causes.
HOME has statewide membership, including "several" in the Missoula city limits, he said. Erickson said he believes it will be both challenging and possible to gather enough signatures.
"It's not going to be that easy - don't get me wrong," Erickson said. "But I believe it's very doable."
And isn't it interesting that one of the petitions' "spiritual" parents can't even sign this thing? To me, that's the most interesting part of this story - and the part that should p*ss Missoulians off - that opposition to this Missoula ordinance seems to stem from a handful of religious radicals in the Bitterroot. Of course, if they manage somehow to come up with 7,000 signatures (one presumes, by combing through retirement homes), we'll be paying for the referendum. And, yes, I'm a Missoula taxpayer.
Here's the kicker from the story, though: Erickson apparently plans on taking his case to the state legislature, and have them come up with a law to "prevent cities from enacting such ordinances." Ugh. I can't wait.
And then there's Dick Haines:
Ward 5 Councilman Dick Haines had some people scratching their heads when he voted "yes" early Tuesday morning for the city's new anti-discrimination law. The alderman's strategy became clearer when he spoke with KGVO radio host Peter Christian Tuesday morning for on-air broadcast. Haines explained to Christian that state and municipal law enables elected representatives who log a "yes" vote to bring legislation up again for formal discussion at a later date.
"I thought, well, this one might be an opportunity to bring back some of the concerns I have with this thing and get them out in front of the public," Haines said during the KGVO interview.
I was one of those head-scratchers. I thought, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, Haines was surprisingly enlightened on civil rights! Fat chance, right? His "yea" vote was simply a deceptive parliamentary trick that allows him to bring up the ordinance again.
Maybe he thought local businesses could benefit from the influx of crazed Bitterrooters' money...