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U.S. House Candidates Differ on Protections for LBGT Individuals

Jackie Yamanaka

Democratic House candidate Denise Juneau was asked during last night’s final U.S. House debate what she would do to protect the rights of LBGT individuals.

“Number one get elected,” Juneau said, as audience erupted in cheers. She said she welcomed that question from the standing room only audience at Heritage Hall, College of Great Falls-MSU.

Juneau said this race is historic for Montana because she’s a woman, Native American, and openly gay.

“And representation matters,” she said. “I’ve watched it happen at the state Legislature with American Indians at the table in record numbers at our state Legislature. The types of policy that gets talked about, the stereotypes that gets broken down.”

Montana’s state school superintendent said she’s worked with local officials to make sure all students feel safe and she would continue that for all Montanans when elected.

Credit Jackie Yamanaka
Congressman Ryan Zinke, R-MT, met with his supporters after the final House debate at Heritage Hall. The first-term Congressman and former state legislator is seeking re-election.

Incumbent Republican Ryan Zinke also voiced support. He said the Constitution protects the right of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

“It’s not my right to dictate how you think or what you do. And so I do support you,” Zinke said. “If you want to be lesbian, you want to be Muslim, you want to be whatever it doesn’t matter to me.”  The later part of his remarks elicited boos and shouts from the crowd.

Zinke said what makes America strong is diversity in message and thought.

Libertarian Rick Breckenridge turned to Jueanu and said she’s a Libertarian because the party’s platform is simple, keep the government out, this includes the bedroom.

“Do we need a special law? No. The constitution protects everybody’s right equally. Not specialized rights.”

The event at Great Falls College-MSU was the final House debate this campaign season. The debate was sponsored by the Montana Farmers Union and The Great Falls Tribune. Absentee ballots will be mailed beginning October 14, 2016.

The general election is November 8, 2016.