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It’s still illegal to have gay sex in Montana, years after Supreme Court ruling

Friday, March 18, 2011
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HELENA, Mont. — A Montana legislative committee on Friday killed a bill that would have decriminalized homosexual sex.

The bill, introduced Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee by State Senator Tom Facey (D-Missoula), would have removed language from Montana Code which defines “deviate” sexual relations as sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex.

Via the Montana Capitol Report:

This bill would remove the outdated language in our criminal code that makes homosexual acts a felony. This law has already been ruled unconstitutional by the Montana Supreme Court and similar laws have been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

By all rational accounts, this bill should have been easy, since it only cleans up our criminal code to fit the current law. Unfortunately, all but one of the Republicans on this committee allowed their personal biases to overrule their respect for the rule of law and they voted to kill this bill.

Throughout Wednesday’s hearing on the bill, GOP members constantly equated homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia. In fact, one opposing witness of the bill went so far as to say all pedophiles are either gay or bisexual.

Proponents of the bill, who have worked multiple legislative sessions, said that this hearing was the most disgusting hearing they have seen in their years at the Capitol.

The bill previously passed the Senate in a 35-14 vote.

In 1997, the Montana Supreme Court struck down the state’s sodomy law, ruling that sexual activity between consenting adults of the same-gender would no longer be illegal.

The Montana ruling came six years prior to the 2003 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down that state’s sodomy law, and invalidated similar laws across the country.

Yet 15 years later, the law criminalizing homosexual acts remains in Montana’s criminal code, even though it is unenforceable.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of homophobia to go around in the Montana legislature on Friday…

In the state Senate, a bill that would prohibit local municipalities from enacting ordinances that include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes from discrimination, passed its first hurdle.

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