Tryon Calls For Apology From Taylor & GF LGBTQ+ Board

Earlier in July the Great Falls City Commission asked that our City Attorney, Sara Sexe, conduct a review and provide us with some research and analysis of the local nondiscrimination ordinance, NDO, being proposed by the Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center board.

Ms. Sexe responded to our request and provided a fairly extensive analysis covering several aspects of the issue including a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Bostock vs Clayton County, similar proposals in other Montana cities, and a 2016 executive order issued by Governor Bullock which prohibits discrimination in state employment.

The City Attorney’s legal opinion is that a Great Falls NDO is not necessary. You can read Sexe’s full 15 page opinion here.

Originally the Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center issued a simple statement that their board ‘strongly disagreed’ with Sexe’s analysis and opinion. So far so good, disagreement is perfectly legitimate.

But then in a ‘press conference’ yesterday GF LGBTQ+ president and spokesperson Jasmine Taylor took the next step and accused our City Attorney of being ‘misleading’ and ‘false’ in her legal analysis and opinion.

“We believe it is vital to address the disappointing and misleading statement from the City Attorney…the claim that explicit protections already exist in housing and accommodations at the state level is false.” said Taylor, apparently reflecting the LGBTQ board’s position.

She then went on further to say that Sexe’s legal opinion was “…an attempt to use this Order (Governor’s 2016 EO) to dismiss the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in Great Falls.”

In addition Taylor, in reference to the Bostock SCOTUS decision, stated “The city attorney is using this ruling as a cop-out.”

Finally, Taylor concludes the attack on City Attorney Sexe by saying, “As a public servant, lay people rely on perceived legal expertise. We find the argument against the NDO to be misleading.”

‘Percieved legal expertise’? City Attorney Sexe has a long and outstanding career as a highly educated and competent legal professional. From which esteemed institution did Ms. Taylor get her law degree and what experience and education does she have that qualifies her to refer to our City Attorney’s legal expertise as ‘perceived’?

So, just to recap, because Taylor and the Great Falls LGBTQ+ board didn’t like or agree with Sexe’s legal analysis and opinion they decided to revert to personal attacks against her, accusing her of intentionally being ‘misleading’, dismissing the needs of citizens, making ‘false’ statements in her legal opinion, and being a ‘cop out’.

Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to these folks that it’s possible to disagree with the legal analysis without impugning the motivations and character of the person offering that analysis.

I would admonish the board of the LGBTQ+ Center to not engage in ad hominem attacks against our city employees for simply doing their job as requested by the City Commission and the City Manager.

Hey, if you want to launch unnecessary personal attacks and employ sneaky little smear tactics I’ll be your huckleberry. I’m an elected official, so step right up, I’m easy to find and ready to respond.

But for now I think Democrat candidate for local HD22, Jasmine Taylor, and the Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center board owe our City Attorney an apology for the unwarranted personal attack on her. Forthwith.

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Rick Tryonhttp://www.ricktryon.com
Rick Tryon is an entrepreneur, a singer-songwriter, and is currently serving a four year term as a Great Falls City Commissioner. Helping Montana become an even greater place to live, play and work is Tryon's passion.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Rick for backing her up. Her brief is true and accurate as laws already exists for everything they want cause they already have those protections like everyone else.

  2. That is an interesting point to take Rick. I took a little time to review your Facebook page. I see a lot of situations on your page where people disagree with you, and they will start with a civil discussion, but very rapidly, the discussion will collapse to name calling. Is there a reason that you feel this person should apologize but your supporters shouldn’t when they are guilty of the same ad hominem or worse?

  3. An ad hominem attack is an attack on the person, such as if someone has called Ms. Sexe a “liar”. But that’s not at all what happened here. Every one of Ms. Taylor’s arguments quoted above were against the legal opinion arguments themselves. The statement itself was termed disappointing and misleading, not Ms. Sexe. The Bostock opinion was being used as a legal copout, but Ms. Sexe was not termed a copout. And etc.

    A careful reading of what Ms. Taylor actually said, and what she actually said it about, will reveal it to be quite different from the “ad hominem attack” as characterized above, particularly in the misleading “just to recap” paragraph.

    An argument against ideas or legal opinions is not ad hominem attack. An argument against ideas or opinions is the essence of debate. Even the justices on the SCOTUS characterize the other justices’ arguments with language that demeans and sometimes ridicules opinions they disagree with, but no one calls that “ad hominem attack”.

    It’s kind of a shame this space is being used to launch an attack on Ms. Taylor for how she described the elements of the legal opinion, rather than addressing the essence of what she said. Does the SCOTUS decision really provide protection in areas such as housing? Who knows. Not being discussed.

    “Ad hominem (Latin for ‘to the person’), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a term that refers to several types of arguments, most of which are fallacious. Typically this term refers to a rhetorical strategy where the speaker attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person making an argument rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself. This avoids genuine debate by creating a diversion to some irrelevant but often highly charged issue.” — Wikipedia

    • Wrong, Mr. Bjork.

      Taylor‘s accusations are direct and intentional smears against Ms. Sexe. Taylor‘s comments are the very definition of ad hominem because by repeatedly calling Sexe’s legal analysis ‘misleading’ and ‘false’ and ‘using this ruling as a copout’ etc. she is directly accusing Sexe of doing so INTENTIONALLY, thereby impugning her motives, her character and her professional integrity.

      And anyone that can read plain English and has a lick of common sense can see very clearly that that is exactly what Taylor intended to do. She owes our city attorney an apology.

      • The statements were about the legal opinion. Ms. Sexe’s opinion was that existing statutes already covered everything. Ms. Taylor characterized parts of that opinion as false, or misleading.

        If for instance Ms. Taylor truly believes that “the claim that explicit protections already exist in housing and accommodations at the state level is false” in the law, it’s no no ad hominem attack on the attorney, just a statement of a differing legal opinion, possibly supported by her ACLU lawyers.

        Speaking of ad hominem, what do we call this:

        “From which esteemed institution did Ms. Taylor get her law degree and what experience and education does she have that qualifies her to refer to our City Attorney’s legal expertise as ‘perceived’?”

        • You are free to call my question about Taylor’s qualifications and experience whatever you like.

          I am calling and will continue to call Taylor‘s inappropriate and uncalled for smears against our city attorney ad hominem attacks. Which they clearly are.

          Taylor owes our city attorney an apology.

          • Thanks for clarifying your position, Rick.

            And reasonable people can take Ms. Taylor’s comments in a wholly different context, and conclude there were no personal attacks on the city attorney, only the legal opinion.

            A city attorney, or county attorney, or state AG can offer a legal opinion, but it is only an opinion that has yet to be tested in the courts. I’m sure Ms. Sexe is a competent attorney and a good City employee, but simple “appeal to authority” of their position or work history does not make such an opinion automatically correct. These opinions are found to be lacking in the courts on a regular basis, with conclusions found to be “false” in the law by higher authorities after argument from attorney with a different interpretation of the law. It’s not a sin to characterize a legal conclusion as false if that’s what your own reading of the law leads you to believe.

            Even IF you are “Democrat candidate for local HD22, Jasmine Taylor”.

  4. Tim, I’d like to think that if you gave it a little more thought time you’d understand the difference between conversations and criticisms between folks on a social media page and smears against a city employee during a public press conference.

    • Rick,

      Understood. If I have this right, it is alright for your followers to insult the mayor, and to attack other city commissioners and politicians running for office with ad hominem attacks, and you will not make the request that they stop, but if a person disagrees with you, and they use strong language worded at a legal analysis and not the writer of the analysis, you will take offense.

      Since you didn’t choose to refute Terry’s definition of ad hominem, I feel you may have a misunderstanding of the term. Ad Hominem is an attack against the person making the argument, not the argument itself. To make that simple, there is a difference between calling Ms. Sexe a homophobe, versus stating that the analysis she provided is misleading. The difference is that the statement is made toward the analysis and not the character of the the person making it.

      I am sure with a little more thought though, you might have gotten there 😉

  5. Agree someone owes city attorney an apology. It is OP for using her as a prop in this flimsy and transparent smear attack on the bogeyperson of Great Falls radical right.

  6. Thank you Rick. These outbursts of ignorance from people who seek to hold offices is really disappointing. Grow up ….suck it up and learn before your speak.

    • We’re being played. This entry no more than opportunistic latest shot in Tryon Taylor personal internet feud. Goes back to fight night during commission candidate debates maybe more. IMO.

      • Kent – no one is being ‘played’, whatever that means. I suppose you’re being purposely vague on what you mean by ‘being played’ because you’re not really sure yourself.

        I respect your opinion, to which you are entitled, but that opinion would be more constructive and credible if it were offered as to the substance of the issue here rather than just your meanderings and postulations about my motives for writing this piece.

    • Every writer has motives. Sudden concern for allege personal slight from commentator candidate that used words like dishonest arrogant corrupt for city officials in past rings hollow. IMO.

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