April 11th, 2013
Montana’s law currently reads: “‘Deviate sexual relations’ means sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex or any form of sexual intercourse with an animal.” Section 45-5-505 then provides the penalties.
45-5-505. Deviate sexual conduct.
(1) A person who knowingly engages in deviate sexual relations or who causes another to engage in deviate sexual relations commits the offense of deviate sexual conduct.
(2) A person convicted of the offense of deviate sexual conduct shall be imprisoned in the state prison for any term not to exceed 10 years or be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, or both.
(3) The fact that a person seeks testing or receives treatment for the HIV-related virus or another sexually transmitted disease may not be used as a basis for a prosecution under this section and is not admissible in evidence in a prosecution under this section.
That last clause suggests that the Montana legislature found time to reconsider the law sometime over the past thirty years and decided to leave it in place. The law was struck down by the Montana Supreme Court in 1997, but lawmakers have, until now, refused to remove it from the statutes.
During Tuesday’s floor debate of the Montana House of Representatives on a bill for a final vote to remove that law from the state’s books, opponents sought to clarify why they thought the bill should be kept. KXLH TV posted a clip online of Rep. Dave Hagstrom (R-Billings) saying:
I have a lot of love and respect for a whole number of homosexual friends, so there’s no homophobic issues going on here at all with me. My question is, what’s the purpose of sex?
… I’ll just speak to the bill. I’m going to vote no on this bill, but it’s just for this reason. I don’t think that homosexual sex is necessarily not deviant. “Deviant” isn’t a bad word. Deviant simply means that it’s not normal, it’s not typical. I kinda liken it like this: this pen has two purposes. The first purpose, of course, is to write. The second purpose is to retract so that it doesn’t leave a stain on your shirt or your purse. So it has two purposes, but one is primary and the other is secondary. To me, sex is primarily purposed to produce people. That’s why we’re all here. Sex that doesn’t produce people is deviate. It doesn’t mean that it’s a problem. It just means it’s not doing its primary purpose.
According to Hagstron, about 99% of all heterosexual sex is also deviate sex. Hagstrom only has four children. Poor guy. Also, I was looking forward to meeting his “whole number of homosexual friends,” but then I drew on my outstanding Catholic school education and remembered that whole numbers were just numbers without fractions, including zero.
Another Representative was more blunt:
Representative Jerry Bennett (R-Libby) told the House he pledged his life to his wife and to God and supporting the bill would violate those pledges.
“It is the thief, the devil, that comes to steal our life, to kill us, to rob us. Christ said I come so that you might have life to the fullest,” Bennett said. “That’s my desire for everyone here.”
Those voices are what’s left of an ever-shrinking minority. The House voted Tuesday, 64-36 to advance the bill for a third and final vote. That vote took place on Wednesday, with the House passing it, 65-34, and sending it to Gov Steve Bullock (D) for his signature.
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