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ACLU Files Suit To Overturn Montana's Ban On Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

MontanaFollowing similar suits in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana has filed an amended lawsuit against the state on behalf of seven gay couples in an attempt to win for them the same benefits that married straight couples receive. The Missoulian reports:

In the amended lawsuit, attorney James Goetz identifies numerous statues, including laws he says prevent gay couples from receiving financial protections given to police officers and spouses and from designating their partners as beneficiaries for worker's compensation.  

Other laws Goetz cites exclude gay couples from financial protections for surviving spouses, authority over end-of-life decisions, financial protections due to illness or disability and protections from the dissolution of their relationships. 

In December 2012, the Montana Supreme Court denied the ACLU's original appeal challenging every statue excluding committed same-sex couples form protections granted to straight couples. The Justices did say, however, that the ACLU could move forward with statute-specific efforts to secure equal treatment for same-sex couples in the state. 


A Human Rights and LGBT Equality Music Festival for Montana? - VIDEO

Chamberlin

Tate Chamberlin is hoping to create a place of pride for Montana's LGBT community with a human rights, equality, and music festival called Interchange, which he's trying to fund through an Indiegogo campaign.

Watch his video, AFTER THE JUMP...

He writes:

In 2011, the Bozeman [Pride] Celebration garnered attendance well over 2,000, which more than doubled in 2012 with upwards of 5,100 attending between downtown and Montana State University events. Out of state attendance showed dynamic growth and the overall feedback from these events showed a majority of positive feedback from sponsors and attendees.

In 2013, Bozeman will be hosting it’s first year of INTERCHANGE: An annual festival celebrating strides in human rights, equality, and the continuing dialogue on a number of important issues. INTERCHANGE will annually evolve as we do, integrating awareness and giving a voice to a number of innovative topics, whether scientific, creative, national performing artists or otherwise so long as they support the evolution and improvement of the causes essential to the spirit of the event.

Interchange

Continue reading "A Human Rights and LGBT Equality Music Festival for Montana? - VIDEO" »


Activists Cheer as Montana Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Gay Sex: VIDEO

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Yesterday in a ceremony at the Montana State Capitol, Governor Steve Bullock signed into law a bill decriminalizing gay sex, Reuters reports:

"I am not going to speak too long," Democratic Governor Steve Bullock told the crowd packed into the expansive rotunda of the state capitol for a signing ceremony. "Because frankly, the longer I talk, the longer this unconstitutional and embarrassing law continues to stay on our books."

...

Montana Human Rights Network Organizer Jamee Greer says the bill's passage is "the first explicit victory for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community through the (Montana) legislature in history."

But Greer says it's just one step toward full equality in the state.

Watch the historic and happy moment as the bill is signed, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Activists Cheer as Montana Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Gay Sex: VIDEO" »


'Not Homophobic' Montana Lawmaker Compares 'Deviate' Gay Sex to a Pen That Retracts: VIDEO

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Yesterday I reported that after many years the Montana legislature finally repealed its unenforceable statute criminalizing gay sex. One of the nuttier speeches during the 25 minute second reading of the bill came when Rep. Dave Hagstrom stood up to explain his 'no' vote and compared gay sex to a pen in its retracted position. Hagstrom prefaced his remarks by saying that he has "a lot of love and respect for a whole number of homosexual friends, so there’s no homophobic issues going on here at all."

Said Hagstrom:

“I don’t think that homosexual sex is necessarily not deviate. Bad word? Deviate simply means it’s not normal, it’s not typical....This pen has two purposes. The first purpose, of course, is to write. The second purpose is to retract, so that it doesn’t leave a stain on your shirt or your purse. So it has two purposes, but one is primary and the other is secondary. To me, sex’s primary purpose is to produce people, that’s why we’re all here. Sex that doesn’t produce people is deviate. That doesn’t mean that it’s a problem. It just means it’s not doing its primary purpose. So I’m just speaking to the bill and I encourage people to vote red.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

I've also posted the entire 25 minutes if you have the time - it's quite interesting.

Mtvote

Continue reading "'Not Homophobic' Montana Lawmaker Compares 'Deviate' Gay Sex to a Pen That Retracts: VIDEO" »


Montana House Votes to Repeal Law Criminalizing Gay Sex

The Montana House today voted 65-34 in a final vote repealing Montana's sodomy law, the Kaimin reports:

MontanaThe bill, which now heads to Gov. Bullock's desk, removes language in the state's deviate sexual conduct law that makes criminal homosexual acts between consenting adults and subjects those found guilty up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

The law currently reads: "'Deviate sexual relations' means sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex or any form of sexual intercourse with an animal."

The portion of the law was struck down by the Montana Supreme Court in 1997 and has since been unenforced, yet the law remained on the books.

Previously...
Gay Montana Lawmaker Makes Emotional Plea to Decriminalize Homosexuality — VIDEO


Montana Poised to Repeal Law Criminalizing Homosexuality: VIDEO

Yesterday I posted gay Montana Rep. Bryce Bennett's powerful floor speech in support of repealing the state's statutes which criminalize gay sex. The Montana House took a vote on it yesterday, and it was decisive, the Billings Gazette reports:

B_bennettAfter a half-hour of emotional debate for and against the measure, the House voted 64-36 to endorse Senate Bill 107, one day after House members narrowly voted to remove it from the House Judiciary Committee, where it had been tabled on a party-line vote with Republicans in favor.

“It’s not about encouraging a lifestyle,” said Rep. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula, one of the Legislature’s only openly gay members. “It’s simply about respecting privacy between two adults. … It’s just as simple as saying that all Montanans deserve dignity and respect.”

Twenty-five Republicans joined all 39 House Democrats to support the bill, which removes gay sex from the definition of the crime of “deviate sexual relations,” a felony that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $50,000.

Sodomy_montana38 Republicans voted to keep the unconstitutional language on Montana's books:

Kerns' stance, and the fact that 38 Republicans effectively voted to keep gay sex a felony, incensed Rep. Amanda Curtis (D-Butte).

"It was so hard to sit through that and not walk across the floor and punch him," Curtis said of Kerns in a video uploaded on YouTube. "That's so offensive. Talk about starting a fight."

"...To say that our friends and our neighbors and our brothers and sisters and our cousins, aunts and uncles should be felons, and we support this because the Bible says so?... It's wrong," Curtis railed, accusing two of the Republican lawmakers who oppose the bill of "promoting hate."

A final vote in the House is set to happen as earlly as today.

Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner spoke with Bennett following the second reading of the bill:

"It feels like we're entering a new day in the state ... and people are ready to move on from this discussion of whether homosexuality should be legal or not," Bennett told BuzzFeed Tuesday shortly after the second reading of a bill to formally repeal the state's sodomy law....

..."While it's exciting that we got this point ... we've got a number of steps to take forward before we can tackle other issues to make sure everyone in our state is truly equal," he said.

Watch a report from KRTV on the debate and vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Montana Poised to Repeal Law Criminalizing Homosexuality: VIDEO" »


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