Montana Hub

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


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


Yesterday I reported that after many years the Montana legislature finally repealed its unenforceable statute criminalizing gay sex.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.”


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


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.

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" »

Homophobic Montana GOP State Senator Jason Priest Struts His Stuff in Gay Comedy Troupe


Montana GOP State Senator Jason Priest (above, right) is being denounced for the "highest form of hypocrisy" by the blog Montana Street Fighter, which asks what a lawmaker with a dismal record on LGBT rights is doing performing with a gay comedy troupe.

They write:

Most Montanans became familiar with Priest’s abhorrent homophobia when he posted offensive slurs on Facebook.  While running for the Senate, Priest referred to economist John Keynes as “a big homo” and said that Democrats were giving Americans “the dry thumb.”...

...During the last legislative session, Senator Priest earned a 13% on the Montana Human Rights Network’s legislative scorecard.  Priest supported legislation that was aimed specifically at protecting bigots while limiting LGBT rights.

More recently, as Montana Street Fighter reported, Priest helped pass a motion aimed at gutting Planned Parenthood of Montana.  Planned Parenthood is one of the only affordable health care centers that provides hormonal treatments for transgender clients.  In addition to providing essential services to the transgender community, Planned Parenthood offers health education, resources, and service referrals to the entire LGBT community.

But apparently Priest has no trouble strutting his stuff with a gay comedy troupe called The Manhattan Prairie Dogs, the site continues:

On Sunday evening, Priest left a lengthy comment here on Montana Street Fighter.  The bulk of his comment did not address his attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and similar organizations.  Instead, Priest proclaimed that he was not a homophobe.

It’s safe to assume that Priest was responding to a photo of him posing with other members of a gay comedy troupe called the Manhattan Prairie Dogs.

Priest claims that he’s not a homophobe because he is “friends with gay people.”  That is the equivalent of saying, “I’m not racist – I have black friends.”


Montana Lawmakers Receive '21st-Century Sodomites' Handbook as Legislature Considers Bill Decriminalizing Homosexuality


Montana Rep. Ellie Boldman Hill (D-Missoula) posted the above photo to her Facebook page, saying:

"Here's what all Montana legislators received in their Capitol mailboxes today. There are no words for what is going on up here."

Hill's post comes as the Montana legislature considers yet again a bil to remove an unconstitutional statue criminalizing homosexuality from its books.

As Mother Jones notes:

Montana is one of four states, along with Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, that still have laws on the books specifically outlawing gay sex. Ten more states—Idaho, Utah, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and (obviously) Florida—maintain a blanket prohibition on sodomy for persons of all sexual orientations.

The state Senate voted on Wednesday by a 38-11 vote to decriminalize it, but the bill, and another anti-discrimination bill, stand little chance of making it through the House Judiciary Committee:

Another bill before the legislature would extend the state's anti-discrimination protections to gays and lesbians for the first time—a more substantive reform that advocates hope would serve as a bulwark against bullying.

But neither proposal stands much chance of becoming law in 2013. As the Billings Gazette notes, a bill to eliminate the sodomy statute passed the Senate in 2011 only to fail in the house. "We are expecting this bill to go to House judiciary, which is a very ideologically driven committee, and we expect it to die in that committee," says Jamee Greer, a lobbyist for the Montana Human Rights Network, an LGBT equality group. "They're not showing a lot of respect to the LGBT community and I don't expect them to pass 107."


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