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Mont. lawmakers poised to repeal sodomy law

Montana, Helena, gay news, Washington Blade

Montana State Capitol (Photo by Roger Wollstadt via Creative Commons)

HELENA, Mont.—Montana lawmakers this week are poised to repeal the state’s sodomy law, the AP reported.

The state House of Representatives on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 107 by a 64-36 vote. It faces a second vote that was likely to have taken place on Wednesday before Gov. Steve Bullock signed it into law.

“It’s not about encouraging a lifestyle,” gay state Rep. Bryce Bennett (D-Missoula) said before his fellow lawmakers approved SB 107 that state Sen. Tom Facey (D-Missoula) introduced. “It’s simply about respecting privacy between two adults.”

Even though the Montana Supreme Court in 1997 ruled against the law, Republicans have led efforts to repeal it.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 found existing state sodomy laws unconstitutional in its landmark Lawrence v. Texas ruling.


Good, bad news for Montana’s gay residents

Helena, Montana, gay news, Washington Blade

Helena, Montana (Photo by RTC via wikimedia)

HELENA — On the same day that the Montana Supreme Court rejected an “overly broad” request that same-sex couples be given the same rights and benefits of opposite-sex couples, the Helena City Council unanimously passed an ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations.

According to the Helena Independent Record, though gender identity is covered under some of the provisions of the ordinance, a late amendment to the bill would bar trans residents from using restrooms corresponding to their gender identity. Still, many LGBT Montanans called the passage a victory.

Earlier in the day, the Montana Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision dismissing a suit brought by same-sex couples alleging discrimination by the state for denying benefits to same-sex couples that are offered to opposite-sex couples. According to the Missoulian, however, the court extended the offer to the couples to modify their arguments and try the suit again.

The court wrote that the gay couples want the court to intervene “without identifying a specific statute or statutes that impose the discrimination they allege,” but write that the complaint can be re-filed with lower courts if advocates more specifically cite state laws that are unconstitutional.