News & Updates
On Monday, October 30th, Montanans were given the news that many of us in the political world have expected for quite some time. That was the death of former Montana Governor Judy
Martz.Martz was Montana’s 22nd governor, and to date, the only female to hold our state’s top elected office. Most Montanans knew her as a hard-charging, former Olympic speed skater and principal voice for the Republican party. She served from 2001 to 2005, a tumultuous time in Montana politics. Electrical de-regulation had just taken place, and financial markets were in an upheaval. At one point, the state budget went from a $60 million budget surplus to a $230 million budget deficit through no fault of hers. But she was the one forced to make the cuts necessary to get the state back on track. It was a tough time to be governor, especially for a political novice. Although she served as the Lieutenant Governor under Marc Racicot, she still had a lot to learn when she was sworn in in January 2001.
It was trial by fire. But she rose to the task and quickly established a reputation as a public servant who wasn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and take an active role in crafting public policy. She was also a Christian who took her faith seriously. She exemplified the passage in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus says, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” You always knew where you stood with her. She didn’t dance around the issues or play political games. She did her best to be forthright, honest and transparent. That’s the Governor Martz that those who served with her knew. She was a statesman and a friend.
But there was another side to Judy. She was one of the most caring individuals I’ve ever met, and it was a quality that endeared many of us to her on a personal level. I remember one instance in particular. It was the summer of 2003. I was serving as the Speaker Pro Tem of the House of Representatives. My political career was accelerating, and God spoke to me clearly and said it was time to leave politics and go home and be Dad. Shortly thereafter, I went to the Capitol and sat down with two senior members of the Capitol press corps and let them know that I would not be seeking re-election.
My next stop was the governor’s office. I had our ten-year-old son with me because I always tried to travel with one of our five kids. Governor Martz graciously ushered us into her office, and I told her I was there to give her a head’s up on an important announcement. She said, “You’re running for lieutenant governor!” I said, “No, just the opposite. I’m leaving politics.” We talked for awhile, and she asked what I planned to do going forward. I told her I had no idea. She said then that we needed to pray. She got up, closed her door, and she and I and my ten-year-old son knelt there in the governor’s office and prayed for the people of Montana and God’s direction for the next chapter of my life.
Shortly thereafter, I was asked to take the reins of a fledgling organization called the Montana Family Foundation.
That’s the Judy Martz that I knew and that’s the Judy Martz that the people of Montana were privileged to have as their governor.
On Tuesday, Oct. 24th, hundreds of people gathered in Billings for the 14th annual Friends of the Family gala event sponsored by the Montana Family Foundation. This year’s keynote speaker was Kaeley Triller Haver from Seattle who gave a powerful testimony and a wake-up call.
In an emotional speech that had both men and women discreetly wiping tears from their eyes, Triller Haver began by describing her early childhood and the fact that she was sexually abused by an adult family member from the time she was in diapers until she was 10 years old. It left her emotionally scarred and led to self-destructive behavior that went through high school and on into college.
Then, as a single mom of two, who finally escaped an abusive relationship, life seemed to make a turn. She found herself growing in the Lord and working in a prominent role in one of the largest YMCA networks in the nation. Then one day, her life came crashing down once again through no fault of her own. It was the day that her supervisor came to her with a file folder that contained a new policy that Kaeley was assigned to implement; in fact, it was more than simple implementation. She was told she needed to figure out a way to message the new policy that would make it acceptable to the Y’s membership. She took the file home, began to read and felt her blood run cold. All the memories of her past abuse flooded her mind. It was as though she was reliving the nightmare of her childhood. In essence, the board of directors had decided to allow transgenders to use the locker rooms of their choice, and it was her job to sell it as a good idea.
Given the fact that the vast majority of transgenders never actually complete a surgical sex change, she was being asked to promote as perfectly normal the idea of allowing fully functioning physical men into locker rooms and shower rooms with women and small children. She couldn’t do it. She wouldn’t do it. What her boss didn’t know is that because of her past, Kaeley had taken upon herself to keep sexual predators out of the locker rooms. She constantly compared the Y’s membership list to the list of convicted sex offenders and consistently found at least one offender per week trying to gain access to the Y’s facilities. One week she found three, and one of those wasn’t even a full member. He just purchased a monthly shower pass. Under the new policy, Kaeley knew it would be impossible to keep these predators out of the women’s locker rooms. All they had to do was say they identified as a woman and they were in, no questions asked.
When Kaeley refused to implement the policy, she was given two options: One, she could sign a non-disclosure agreement and receive a severance package; or two, she could be fired on the spot. Refusing to be silenced, she chose the latter. She’d been a silent victim for most of her life, and she was wouldn’t be muzzled any longer.
Shortly thereafter, she wrote a piece for the Federalist Magazine entitled “A Rape Survivor Speaks Out About Transgender Bathrooms,” and it turned out to be their most widely-read article of the year. This is why we support the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act. It’s about protecting the privacy, safety and dignity of anyone using a public locker room. For more information or to sign the petition, go to lockerroomprivacy.com
Calls separate locker rooms for males and females “Just common sense”
LAUREL, MT—Today Jeff Laszloffy, President/CEO of the Montana Family Foundation, criticized an ACLU lawsuit trying to deny ballot access to the Montanans who support the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act (I-183).
He said, “High school girls shouldn’t be forced to shower in front of a boy, even if he does think he’s a girl. Boys shouldn’t have to change clothes in front of a girl, even if she thinks she’s a boy. It’s just common sense. It’s tragic that the ACLU wants to disenfranchise thousands of Montana voters.”
Laszloffy added that the Locker Room Privacy Act offers compassionate solutions like single stall changing facilities for individuals who may not feel comfortable in the locker room for their own sex.
Laszloffy pointed out that the ACLU’s lawsuit is premature, since the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act hasn’t even qualified for the ballot yet. “The ACLU knows it will pass by an overwhelming margin if the people of Montana are allowed to vote, so they’re acting in desperation to sue even before it’s on the ballot.”
He added that exaggerated claims about the economic impact of Locker Room Privacy are false. “A study about the economy of North Carolina, and what happened when they instituted locker room privacy, claims it cost that state $3.7 billion dollars. But that amount is over 12 years while North Carolina’s economy is nearly $500 billion dollars in one single year. Simple math shows that protecting privacy cost North Carolina less than one tenth of one percent per year.”
He went on, “Similarly, claims that protecting Locker Room Privacy would put university funding at risk are absolutely false. The Obama administration might have penalized schools that protect locker room privacy. But the Trump administration has said unequivocally that they will not.”
Laszloffy concluded, “The Montana Locker Room Privacy Act is about protecting privacy, safety, and dignity for all Montanans. Males and females use different locker rooms. This isn’t some new idea, it’s just common sense. The ACLU should permit the people of Montana to vote. That’s supposed to be how self-government works.”
The Department of Public Health and Human Services is trying to change the rules so people can ask for their birth certificates to be changed. In order to make Montana compliant with the recommendations of the “Word Professional Association for Transgender Health,” the new rules would allow a male who thinks they’re a woman or a female who thinks they’re a man to change their birth certificate to show what they want it to show.
We urge all Montanans to submit public comment. It’s being accepted until October 20 at this email address: email@example.com.
If you can submit comment, please consider the following points:
- Something this significant should be decided by the Legislature, not bureaucrats.
- The proposed language includes no definition of transition, so it’s impossible to objectively verify.
- The proposed language removess the word sex and replaces it with gender, which is also impossible to objectively verify.
The Montana Family Foundation celebrated a major victory in court today for Ballot Initiative 183, the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act. The ACLU of Montana asked the Montana Supreme Court to rule that the Locker Room Privacy Act couldn’t be on the ballot, it refused. The ACLU asked the Court to rule that signatures already gathered be thrown out, again it refused. In the end, the Court only required minor changes to the ballot statement.
“This is a big win,” said Jeff Laszloffy, President/CEO of the Montana Family Foundation and sponsor of the Locker Room Privacy Act. “Our initiative can still move forward, and Montanans who have already signed the petitions won’t have their voices ignored.”
The Montana Locker Room Privacy Act requires that schools and other government buildings keep locker rooms for women, locker rooms for men, and keep each private from the opposite sex. It also encourages compassionate accommodations like single stall changing facilities for people who might need them.
Laszloffy pointed out that not only did the Court rule against the ACLU on two of its three requests – the more important two – but it also declined to adopt the ACLU’s proposed ballot statement language and rejected the argument that the initiative didn’t protect privacy.
“The Locker Room Privacy Act goes forward,” said Laszloffy. “Which is good, because high school girls should not have to shower in front of a boy, even if he thinks he’s a girl. It’s just common sense.”
He concluded, “The Montana Locker Room Privacy Act is about protecting the privacy, safety, and dignity of all Montanans when we’re in a place where we have to be undressed. I’m delighted the court is letting it go forward.”