Montana representative Tom Facey (D-Missoula) said he is asking his fellow lawmakers to honor the oath they took on the first day of the 2003 session to uphold the Montana constitution, according to the Billings Gazette. He's asking them on that basis to remove from the state's code the statute that criminalizes consensual gay sex.
The Montana supreme court in 1997 overturned the state's sodomy law based on the state's constitutional right to privacy, but Montana has not removed the statute from its books. No one in the state apparently has ever been prosecuted under the law, lawmakers said.
"House Bill 294 asks legislators to respect the rights of all Montanans," Facey said Tuesday at the hearing of the house judiciary committee.
Gay rights advocates praised Facey's support and called on the legislature to follow through. "This bill is simple," said Karl Olson, director of Pride! in Helena, a gay rights organization. "This bill is about walking the talk. It's about the constitution."
The committee has yet to take action on the bill.