Updated: Kelly McCarthy Fights for Statewide Equality

Update: Join Montanans in Support of LGBTQ Equality at the LGBTQ Lobby Day on Monday, February 20th in Helena at the Capitol

McCarthy introduced a statewide non-discrimination bill to prevent discrimination against the LGBTQ community in renting, employment, and public accommodation.

The bill is HB 417. Read it here.

Good job Representative McCarthy!

Story: Billings Gazette

Find his campaign for Congress on Facebook.

Kathleen O’Donnell lives in Laurel. Her uncle is Rep. Kelly McCarthy of Billings.

 

By Kathleen O’Donnell

As printed in the Billings Gazette

When I was 17, I joined the Army National Guard. I completed basic training before the end of high school and by 2009, I began my service. I am proud to be an American, I am proud to have served my country, and I am proud to be a member of the LGBTQ community. Marrying my wife was the happiest day of my life. Our love would prove to be a haven of safety and comfort, and necessary to survive the pain of the experiences to come.

In 2014, my wife, 6-year-old son, and I moved from Great Falls to Billings to be close to our giant Irish-Catholic family. I was tasked with the responsibility of finding a home for us to rent. I arrived at an open house and, after a tour, asked the landlord for an application. The landlord looked at me reluctantly and asked who else would be joining me, and whether my fiancée was a girl or a boy. Upon hearing “girl,” the landlord looked me directly in the eye and promptly said, “I do not rent to your kind.”

Confusion, anger, and sadness raced through my head. What exactly is “my kind”? To me, “my kind” is a good person with a stable job and excellent rental history in search for a home for her family. “My kind’” has a history of being actively involved in her community, volunteering for Little League and helping out in the schools. “My kind” raised her right hand and served her country with pride and sacrifice. I couldn’t believe that this was even legal. There was nothing I could do, no policy that existed that would give me the support to stand up to someone who had treated me with such prejudice and disrespect. All because of who I loved.

I began to heal. I took a position at a car dealership and was quickly promoted for excellent performance, working long hours and clearly exceeding my sales goals. In spite of my hard work, I was approached by the manager who, with tears in his eyes, said “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I was told I had to fire you.” He admitted that the new owner and his son “did not like me,” and that I was to be terminated before Monday, before the end of my six-month probationary period. I asked him why they didn’t like me. “Because you are gay,” he said.

Just like that, my family lost income for three months. Because of two powerful people’s bitter and ignorant judgment, my wife and son had to suffer. My hope in sharing my story is that I can put a face and a voice to those affected and hurt by the lack of protection against discrimination for LGBTQ people. We, like every other Montanan, deserve to be judged by the content of our character, rather than who we love.

Kathleen O’Donnell lives in Laurel. Her uncle is Rep. Kelly McCarthy of Billings.

McCarthy introduced a statewide non-discrimination bill to prevent discrimination against the LGBTQ community in renting, employment, and public accommodation.

The bill is HB 417. Read it here.

Good job Representative McCarthy!

Find his campaign for Congress on Facebook.

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6 Comments on "Updated: Kelly McCarthy Fights for Statewide Equality"

  1. Old Line Democrat | February 17, 2017 2:01 PM at 2:01 PM |

    I would like to know who the owners of the car dealership are so I can be sure to avoid them in the future. These types of people should feel an economic sting from their actions and beliefs. If you want to hold these beliefs you should proclaim them and let everyone know what you think and they can respond accordingly.

  2. Unfortunately, Montana–the land of the open sky–is among the states with citizens who cringe at the reality of LGBTQ. Shame on anyone who blocks any person’s right to a livelihood.

  3. SCOTUS is deciding whether govts can discriminate against transgender folks, not whether govts can ban discrimination.

  4. Among Montana’s many attractions are hot springs. Historically, it was not unusual to find they were swimsuit-optional with change rooms and plunges accessible to all ages and genders. As a young woman, I found the spas a place where you could shed outmoded ideas and learn:
    (1) that the human body comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes,
    (2) clothes do not make the man, and
    (3) Thank God, Montanans are not prudes.

  5. Montana is so far behind the times.

  6. I too want the names of those who discriminate. The power of the pocketbook is going to be one of the most effective agents of change as long as we live in a “free market” i.e.unregulated capitalism. If everybody who complains about banks would just move their money to a credit union it would be astounding how quickly banks would change their practices. It’s one of the reasons I so strongly support the Flathead Electric Coop-if the FCC fails to protect net neutrality I will once again be pushing very hard for us to get in the ISP business and at least we will have that option. If you are stuck with a for-profit utility there’s no such option. Telephone and electric coops are what made rural America great places to live and thrive. If the Trumpsters begin attacking the internet we need to have a choice and coops are what promises that-we do not end up like China or North Korea with the Government deciding what we need to know. If we know who’s helping the Nazis we can avoid giving them our dollars and eventually starve them out.

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