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Montana House Rejects Bill Decriminalizing Homosexuality

The Montana House blocked efforts to send a stalled bill out of committee for debate by the full House yesterday. The bill, which I've posted quite a bit about, would strike a law from Montana's books criminalizing gay sex.  It stalled earlier this month following some hideous testimony smearing gays as HIV-positive tax burdens and pedophiles.

It's an obsolete law, made so by a Montana Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional in 1997, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Lawrence v. Texas.

Sands Yet bigoted lawmakers in Montana refuse to strike it.

The Billings Gazette:

The motion by Rep. Diane Sands (pictured, and who certainly wasn't smiling yesterday), D-Missoula, to blast Senate Bill 276 out of the House Judiciary Committee, received 51 votes in the 100-member House but failed to secure the 60 votes needed. The vote was 51-47.

The Senate passed SB276, by Sen. Tom Facey, D-Missoula, 35-14, but the House Judiciary Committee tabled the bill.

Before the court ruling in 1997, gays and lesbians in Montana risked being charged with felonies and if convicted, they could have faced a maximum penalty of a 10-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine, said Sands, a lesbian.

Lawmakers opposed to the measure both denied the ruling of the Supreme Court and cited Bible scripture:

Judiciary Chairman Rep. Ken Peterson, R-Billings, who is an attorney, said the Supreme Court didn't find the law unconstitutional. Its ruling held that same-sex adults, in private, not-for-commercial purposes, are protected by the right to privacy, Peterson said. The court didn't say the law was unconstitutional, he said. "It should not be repealed because of situations it might apply in," he said.

and

Rep. Michael More, R-Gallatin Gateway, argued against Sands' motion, citing Scripture, natural law and "eternal law."..."I would say that the protections provided in the privacy clause of the Montana Constitution, which are extensive and which we've been over numerous times in the House Judiciary Committee, the protections are sufficient," he said.

Watch some of the testimony from local station KFBB, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Sad, but not unexpected.

    Church and State, together again for the first time.

    Posted by: johnny | Mar 30, 2011 7:44:53 AM


  2. I'm just glad to know that when Yellowstone blows up in it's fourth eruption, that this state of haters will be the first to be wiped from the face of the planet.

    Posted by: Skooter McGoo | Mar 30, 2011 8:00:10 AM


  3. To borrow a quote from someone:

    If Jesus was alive today the last thing he would want to be is a Christian.

    Posted by: the woodrow | Mar 30, 2011 8:08:39 AM


  4. i think the time has come to start suing the individual state rep/sen who uses religious propaganda as rationale for failure to live up to the duties they sworn to uphold, be fair and objective, gross negligence, and incompetence, and intolerance. my train of thought is kind of shaky, but i seriously believe anyone who quotes the bible is in contempt and unable to perform their job.

    Posted by: Dan | Mar 30, 2011 8:10:27 AM


  5. Laughable. No doubt Montana is full of Larry Craigs, adulterers, dudes young and old jacking off to internet porn,etc.,

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 30, 2011 8:21:26 AM


  6. It seems some of the good representatives in Montana are unable to grasp the meaning of separation of church and state. They're more interested in placing (or keeping) their God's law above the law of the land. So, explain to me again the problem with Sharia law and its dominion over citizens?

    Posted by: Rob | Mar 30, 2011 8:52:11 AM


  7. It's always the self-loathing gays who bring up scripture and natural law to substantiate the insubstantial.
    Rep More? An unmarried former seminarian- always on the hunt for the gays to kick out of the seminary. A self-loathing bully.
    Sad.

    Posted by: D Gregory Smith | Mar 30, 2011 11:00:01 AM


  8. It makes about as much sense for a German or French citizen to pay taxes to the U.S. as it does for LGBTQ people to pay taxes to the U.S. - neither group has the rights and protections that TRUE AMERICANS have.


    Bullies will continue to bully until victims find their POWER, and the ONLY power we have is our $$$$$. Aren't you tired of holding signs, clicking on e-petitions, marching around, and begging for what is already long-overdue?

    Posted by: Gay Tax Protest | Mar 30, 2011 11:16:02 AM


  9. The Billings Gazette is wrong. If the law is still on the books, you can be charged with the crime. In fact, cops are duty-bound to enforce the law (though I suspect most wouldn't anymore, even in MT). It would be up to the DA to dismiss the charges or proceed with trial. Then it would be up to the judge to dismiss the charges. Eventually, somewhere up the chain, you'd get someone to honor the Supreme Court decision.

    Posted by: BobN | Mar 30, 2011 12:22:36 PM


  10. My (very liberal) Missoula friends have invited our family to visit this summer. We're going to have to turn them down. I don't feel safe bringing my family there.

    Posted by: David R. | Mar 30, 2011 1:41:04 PM


  11. Here is the full testimony:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t--E0lBQhBE

    Posted by: Josh C | Mar 30, 2011 2:52:05 PM


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