Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) on Monday issued an executive order extending nondiscrimination protections to state employees and state contractors based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a statement posted to his Facebook page, Bullock said his actions were honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and recommitting to the values of compassion, acceptance and equality exemplified by King, in recognition of the federal holiday named after the civil rights leader.
Bullock’s executive order expands upon and replaces a much narrower executive order, issued by his predecessor, Brian Schweitzer (D), prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in state employment and contracting. According to the Great Falls Tribune, Bullock’s order also extends similar protections to people based on military service, genetic information, pregnancy and medical conditions related to childbirth. The order directs the Montana Department of Administration to develop an equal employment policy to enforce the aforementioned nondiscrimination protections.
Although the executive order only applies to state government agencies, Bullock also used the opportunity to call upon private businesses to consider adopting similar protections for LGBT people. However, only four cities in Montana — Bozeman, Butte, Helena and Missoula — have local ordinances that prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in private employment, housing and public accommodations.
“Discrimination in any form is wrong, and through his actions today, Governor Bullock has taken a bold step to expand equality and fairness for all,” Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “We commend him for doing everything in his administrative power to fight for the rights of LGBT Montanans, and hope his actions encourage other government officials to make safeguarding protections for all residents and visitors a priority.”
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