has hit another dead end in court.

In a new order, Missoula County District Judge Douglas Harkin said the court won't reconsider the lawsuit opponents of the Missoula anti-discrimination ordinance filed last summer.

"Although the Petitioners allege a litany of representations or concealment of material facts by the Respondents, the Respondents performed and satisfied their duties as statutorily required," Harkin wrote in the Oct. 21 order.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the anti-discrimination ordinance the Missoula City Council adopted in April. The measure, new in Montana but common elsewhere in the country, protects people from work and housing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Led by morality crusaders Dallas Erickson and Tei Nash, formed to fight the ordinance. The group feared the measure would lead to attacks against women and children in bathrooms, among other problems.

So ordinance opponents tried to get a petition off the ground to kill the measure at the ballot box. The draft petitions, though, never passed legal muster with the Missoula city attorney and the Missoula County clerk and recorder.

In June,,, Nash and John Porter sued the city, the county, the city attorney and the clerk and recorder. The lawsuit appeared to ask the court to force the defendants to place the ordinance on the general election ballot or explain why they shouldn't "perform their statutory duties."

On June 28, the court ruled against the plaintiffs. Then, in August, petitioners asked for reconsideration.

The judge denied that request last week. In his order, he noted the plaintiffs stated their case in 109 pages of "hostile allegations, description of events, meandering arguments," and all in all, a "difficult framework."

Nash said Monday plaintiffs have not decided whether to pursue another court challenge. He also said the group hasn't determined whether to try to turn in another petition draft for approval.

The matter won't appear on the November 2010 election ballot.

If a valid document is really the goal, city attorney Nugent said it's simple enough to reach. He's written letters spelling out the correct way to put together a legal petition, but he said the people writing the drafts won't follow instructions.

"Sometimes, I wonder if they aren't interested in getting something approved and just want to get a lot of publicity," Nugent said.

Reporter Keila Szpaller can be reached at @KeilaSzpaller, 523-5262, or on