The leader of a local right-wing group claims in a podcast that gay people are not the targets of violence and that actual cases of anti-gay violence don’t exist.
Pointing to one case of a young adult in Missoula who made up the story of being attacked because he was gay, Montana birther Jeff Laszloffy tells us (clip) “these false claims are becoming all too frequent because actual cases don’t exist”:
The notion that it does comes from repeated claims by groups like the Montana Human Rights Network. The reason this latest case got so much publicity was that the promoters of anti-gay discrimination ordinances thought that they finally had an actual case that they could point to. (clip)
Laszloffy, head of the far-right Montana Family Foundation, wants us to believe that non-profit organizations are ginning up fake claims of anti-gay violence in Missoula to to pass a non-discrimination ordinance in Helena.
He points to two other cases of anti-gay violence in Montana that he says were made up.
Though Laszloffy declines to cite his sources, presumably he means the 2001 case of the Carroll College student who,
was hit in the head with a bottle, knocked unconscious and further beaten, according to a report filed by the student with school administrators. The words “Die Fag” were written on his body, and the student later required surgery because of the cuts on his eye.
The 2001 Helena IR report on this case is pasted below the fold.
He claims that police believed that a lesbian couple in Missoula actually set their own house on fire. The couple was forced to escape through a window with their infant son.
Laszloffy presents no evidence to back up his statement that these people committed crimes by making false reports to police. Instead, he says we should be suspicious of them because they left the state after the attacks. However, as the Helena IR reports, the Carroll student left because he feared for his safety, “fearing for his safety, he withdrew from Carroll and returned to his Spokane-area home.” And in the case of the Missoula couple, the prosecutor, a Missoula County Attorney, found no evidence to back up the claims of those who said that they had made up their story.
Laszloffy doesn’t think we understand that people move away after becoming a hate crime victim because they want to distance themselves from that terrible experience. Who wants to be known mostly as a public reminder of fear and the existence of bigots? They move away because they don’t want to be reminded every day of what happened to them and to avoid having to encounter the perpetrators.
Here’s where his remarks really go south. Laszloffy says that the Helena non-discrimination ordinance is not to protect people who are gay but rather to “put churches and those who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds at risk for harassment.” He says that, “The gay community is now pushing those in the faith community not only to accept what they see as sin, but to participate in it as well.”
Back in Montana on Planet Earth, people who are gay can be denied housing and employment, fired, or kicked out of establishments — all because of their sexual orientation. Religion is a protected class by both bias-crime laws and non-discrimination laws in Montana. This means laws already protect people from being discriminated against because of their faith. And if a religious person was attacked in a bias-based crime, the assailant would receive a sentence enhancement.
To find out more about Helena’s non-discrimination ordinance and how you can help, visit the Montana Human Rights Network website here.