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Mont.: Repeal of Gay Sex Ban Stalled

Mont.: Repeal of Gay Sex Ban Stalled

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A bill that would have officially removed a policy criminalizing gay sex from Montana's lawbooks has stalled in the state house judiciary committee.


Rep. Diane Sands's motion to move the bill forward garnered a 51-47 vote, but 60 votes were needed to bring the vill to a full house debate. Sands and Tom Facey, who introduced the senate version of the bill, argue that while the Montana supreme court ruled in 1997 that the gay sex ban was unconstitutional, the actual law should be removed from the books. The senate passed the bill in February, 35-14.

"It's been almost 15 years since the supreme court ruling," Sands said, according to the Billings Gazette. "It's about time we removed that language from the books. Let's bring it to the floor and debate it and take action on it."

House judiciary committee chairman Ken Peterson countered that the supreme court did not find the law unconstitutional and instead ruled that gays and lesbians are entitled to privacy. Fellow Republican representative Steve Gibson, however, said inaction on this law would be a lapse in ensuring "freedom, privacy, respect, [and] personal responsibility." He added, "Do you want the government in your bedroom? I don't. I'm sure everybody in the house knows someone in their family, a friend, or a person that is homosexual. Do you love them? Do you respect them? I do."

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