(DV) Proponents of a ballot initiative targeting transgender and non-binary people in Montana — I-183 — has failed to gather enough signatures to put their measure on Montana’s ballot for the November elections.
I-183 would have prevented trans and non-binary people from using public facilities corresponding to their gender identity in places such as libraries, parks and schools. The Montana Legislature had rejected an almost identical measure in 2017.
The battle against I-183 included the ACLU of Montana’s successful challenge last July of the initiative’s ballot statement. The Montana Supreme Court agreed that the statement did not accurately describe I-183’s intended and unintended consequences, and in invalidating the ballot statement the court also voided what proponents claimed were “thousands of signatures” they had already gathered.
SK Rossi, director of advocacy and policy for ACLU of Montana also credited I-183 opponents’ campaign featuring transgender Montanans. “Transgender and non-binary Montanans have been powerful examples of bravery and authenticity in leading the fight against I-183. We anchored our campaign in the voices of the community most impacted by this costly and unnecessary measure. And in these voices, people heard their friends, family, neighbors and coworkers.”
You can see the campaign here.
After the ballot statement was revised and proponents began gathering signatures again, the ACLU of Montana filed a lawsuit challenging I-183 as unconstitutional, with 10 LGBT individuals, the city of Missoula and the city of Bozeman as plaintiffs. The ACLU will likely move to have the suit dismissed now that the initiative proponents have failed to gather the 25,400-plus signatures necessary to put the measure on the ballot.