Earlier this month the mayor of Billings, Montana cast the deciding vote to reject a proposed LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. Buoyed by that victory, haters are pointing their horns at a similar bill that was passed in Bozeman just a few weeks ago.
The complaint filed by attorney Michael San Souci in District Court this week asks the court to declare the ordinance invalid. The plaintiffs — Peter Arnone, Dave Baldwin, Ross Hartman, Dawnette Osen and Sharon Swanson — argue commissioners overstepped their authority in passing the ordinance despite legal opinions advising against it. Both sides say the court’s ruling will have implications for similar laws in Missoula, Helena and Butte. The complaint says state law doesn’t allow local governments to exercise any power that applies to any private or civil relationship, or any law that affects landlords with regard to tenants. The complaint also says the state constitution gives District Court original jurisdiction in cases involving matters of equity. Bozeman’s ordinance says anyone who feels discriminated against under the ordinance can petition Municipal Court.
The lawyer mentioned above specializes in personal injury claims.