BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Bozeman could be the next Montana city to look at passing a non-discrimination ordinance to protect gays, lesbians, and transgendered people.

Members of the Montana Human Rights Network hosted an event in Bozeman today to gain support for the ordinance.

People crammed into Wild Joe's coffee in Bozeman on Tuesday to show their support for a city wide non-discrimination ordinance they say would protect gay, lesbian, bi and trans-gendered people.

"I think people are really excited to see this momentum and work together with members of the Commission to pass an ordinance that's strong and meets all our goals," said Jamee Greer, who works with the Montana Human Rights Network, the group that hosted the event.

He said their main goal is to make sure a law is on the books that prevents discrimination against the LGBT community in hiring, housing, and public accommodations.

Organizers encouraged people to sign a petition of support.

"I don't want to see Montana be the Mississippi of this civil rights movement," said Greg Smith, a local priest, and a gay man who advocates for multiple rights organizations around town. "I want Montana to be on the forefront of equality, and we're a little late to be in the front, but we can definitely not be last."

Smith said he's seen discrimination first hand in Bozeman, and believes more needs to be done on a governmental level to prevent it from happening.

"I've had first hand experience with at least twenty being fired because their employer found out they were gay and transgender," Smith explained, "and that wasn't necessarily the reason given for firing, but it happened very clearly after the disclosure of sex identity or gender identity."

Helena and Missoula have passed similar ordinances, but not without controversy and strong opposition.

Ordinance supporters said they expect there will be concerns, but hope they can work through them.

"It's essential that we have legal protections in place so all citizens can live and work freely and safely," said Kim Leighton, who works for Pride Foundation.

Leighton said the grass roots efforts to push for these ordinances in different cities across Montana, is all in hopes it'll lead to action on the state level.

"I'm hopeful that as we get more cities on board on passing these local non-discrimination ordinances that it will show the state legislative elected officials that this is what Montana wants," she said. "Communities, individuals, places of employment, faith leaders, it crosses all sectors and it's important to the Montana people and businesses. I'm hopeful that eventually with enough momentum we can keep it going and take it to the state."

Missoula was the first Montana city to pass an ordinance like this in 2010.

Helena followed in 2012, passing an ordinance that prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and many types of public accommodations based on sexual orientation gender identity and expression.

Butte began drafting an anti-discrimination ordinance just a few weeks ago.

State lawmakers have weighed plans both to extend the protections statewide or prohibit cities from enacting non-discrimination bans. However, neither effort has been successful.