Montana House advances bill to decriminalize gay sex

2013-04-08T16:49:00Z 2013-04-08T19:27:24Z Montana House advances bill to decriminalize gay sexThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 08, 2013 4:49 pm  • 

HELENA – The Montana House is moving forward with a measure that would repeal an obsolete state law that criminalizes gay sex, despite a committee’s decision to table it.

Rep. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula, made the motion Monday to take Senate Bill 107 out of the House Judiciary Committee and place it on the agenda for a House vote. Bennett, who is gay, said the law emphasizes inequality and pointed to the 1997 Montana Supreme Court case that ruled the language criminalizing gay sex was unconstitutional.

“Under this law, I am considered a felon,” Bennett said. “I am not your equal.”

Bennett said that even though he won’t be prosecuted, he still feels the law’s “sting” and resents that Montana law classifies gay sex as sexual deviance, on par with bestiality.

The bill received the necessary 60 votes when minority Democrats were joined by 21 Republicans, who say the measure is about privacy for all Montanans. Two years ago, a similar measure died in the Republican-controlled House after receiving the Senate’s approval.

Since then, the Republican Party has removed from its platform language that seeks to make homosexual acts illegal, and some Republicans, like the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer of Superior, have voiced their support of the measure.

Some Republicans still oppose the measure, warning that legalizing gay sex would lead to societal degradation and gay sex being taught in schools’ sex education classes.

Rep. Krayton Kerns, R-Laurel, said the House was hypocritical by opening each session with a prayer and blatantly disregarding the Bible.

“If we abandon our moral compass, we will lose our country,” Kerns said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Opponents of the bill also argue that the law allows for the prosecution of child molesters – a point on which the bill’s backers vehemently disagree. The bill’s backers say child molestation cases are prosecuted under a stricter code called Jessica’s Law.

The measure will need the House’s endorsement before it can reach Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s desk.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

  1. Chuck Feney
    Report Abuse
    Chuck Feney - April 09, 2013 9:24 pm
    Put It Behind Ya', Boys!

    Sodomites no longer feel the need to run
    'Cause the Republicans got the job done.
    Now Montana's gays
    Can look back on the days
    Of being sentenced to Deer Lodge for fun!
    ______
    C.U.F.
  2. Still Here
    Report Abuse
    Still Here - April 09, 2013 7:34 am
    Excuse me, No where in this bill is the word Marriage even mentioned. I makes me so sad and angry that Thirty Plus Representatives and Senators votes to continue to allow it to be a Felony to be Gay or Lesbian in this State. So sick hearing 'my FAITH' or 'the Bible say'. If you are are Gay or Lesbian or have a friend or relative who is, it would be worth your time to see who believes you / they are criminals. Ravalii County is not so blessed with having Mr. Greef and Mr. Thomas voting to say my friends and relatives are felons
  3. MTminded
    Report Abuse
    MTminded - April 09, 2013 5:50 am
    And it is high time the republican legislatures legalize what it is they've been doing to Montana citizens for decades.
  4. pl
    Report Abuse
    pl - April 09, 2013 5:48 am
    OMG, is Montana FINALLY going to come into the 21st century??? Yep, partner, it is NOT 1870 anymore. To hellgatenights, I didn't see heterosexual marriage in the dictionary either. Hmm, does that mean it doesn't exist either since it's not in the all knowing dictionary? Because something is not in the dictionary does not mean it doesn't exist. Expand your reading to other books would be my suggestion.
  5. saltine
    Report Abuse
    saltine - April 08, 2013 10:01 pm
    There is no need for "gay marriage" to be in the dictionary... the word "marriage" will soon be inclusive of gay, lesbian and heterosexual couples who choose to make their committed partnerships legal. Sorry history is passing you by... the generation being born now will either laugh or cry at the ignorance of today.
  6. hellgatenights
    Report Abuse
    hellgatenights - April 08, 2013 7:26 pm
    Checked the dictionary.......there is no "Gay Marriage" nor is there "Gay sex" listed there. Sodomy.......that's the word. I found it in the dictionary.
Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick