Tags: montana | gay | sex | felony | law | overturned

Montana's Gay-Sex Felony Law, Though Unenforced, Is Overturned

Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 01:35 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A bill to decriminalize gay sex in Montana, where it's presently a felony, was opposed by 38 Republicans – not near enough to keep the measure from passing 60-38 with the help of 21 other Republican legislators.

The bill overturns a 1973 statute that classified gay sex as "deviate sexual conduct."

However, the 1973 law couldn't be enforced because of a 1997 decision by the state's Supreme Court, as well as a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, reported the Digital Journal.

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One Republican opposing the bill was Rep. Krayton Kerns of Laurel.

"There is an enormous biblical principle here," Kerns said last week in explaining his opposition. "There is a truth. I know that public opinion may be swaying with the time but the truth does not sway and so it was default to scripture."

His position was attacked by the minority Democrats, including Rep. Amanda Curtis of Butte, who said opponents of the law were "promoting hate today on the House floor."

"It was so hard to sit through that and not walk across the floor and punch him," Curtis said about Kerns in a video uploaded on YouTube.

"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," said Butte.

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Another supporter of the bill was Rep. Bryce Bennett of Missoula, a Democrat and openly gay legislator.

"Under this law, I am considered a felon," Bennett said on the House floor. "I am not your equal."

Montana is one of 14 states nationwide with restrictions on sodomy, reported the Huffington Post.

Related stories:

Michigan Republican Isn’t Apologizing for Comments on Gays

Values Group Outraged About Calif. Gay Curriculum

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