Montana House Blocks Attempt to Decriminalize Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

March 30th, 2011

The Montana House last night shot down an attempt to remove the state’s law making consensual gay sex illegal. Even though laws like Montana’s was struck down by the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision Lawrence v Texas, Montana lawmakers in the house moved to preserve the unconstitutional law yesterday:

The motion by Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, to blast Senate Bill 276 out of the House Judiciary Committee, received 51 votes in the 100-member House but failed to secure the 60 votes needed. The vote was 51-47.

The Senate passed SB276, by Sen. Tom Facey, D-Missoula, 35-14, but the House Judiciary Committee tabled the bill.

Before the court ruling in 1997, gays and lesbians in Montana risked being charged with felonies and if convicted, they could have faced a maximum penalty of a 10-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine, said Sands, a lesbian.

Incredibly, this was the reason given for the law’s retention:

Rep. Ken Peterson

Judiciary Chairman Rep. Ken Peterson, R-Billings, who is an attorney, said the Supreme Court didn’t find the law unconstitutional.

Its ruling held that same-sex adults, in private, not-for-commercial purposes, are protected by the right to privacy, Peterson said. The court didn’t say the law was unconstitutional, he said.

“It should not be repealed because of situations it might apply in,” he said.

In other arguments to keep the law, Rep. Michael More, R-Gallatin Gateway, reportedly cited Scripture, natural law and “eternal law.”


March 30th, 2011

WyWatch awarded him the AssHat of the month prize. Congrats Ken!

dan Hayward

March 30th, 2011

These homo-phobic republicans (mostly) who concern themselves with peoples’ COMPLETELY PRIVATE LIVES and consensual decisions, instead of issues that their job as legislators REQUIRES them to attend to, are wasting their time and the peoples’ money and energies by bringing their PERSONAL prejudices into their jobs. They should be strongly reprimanded (actually should be impeached) for their misuse of state funds and their authority….

I wish these petty, little, foolish right-wingers would Get Over It!!!. Grow up and do your jobs!!!!!.

Maurice Lacunza

March 30th, 2011

If you need a reason to not live in Montana, this is it. I love Montana but I find this legislative action stone aged.

Heck y’all, even Wyoming saw their way out of a paper bag when they recently didn’t pass anti-gay legislation.

Even the Montana Supreme Court ruled anti-gay. I am going to post this article and email it to my Montana friends. They must hate me by now.

Lindoro Almaviva

March 30th, 2011

I bet this whole situation will be solved when some over reaching a-hole messes with the wrong person and the state ends up being sued for violating the civil rights of people and ends up paying millions in damages and legal fees.

Apparently that is the only way some people learn.

Reed Boyer

March 30th, 2011

How lovely (not): a return to those halcyon days of yore, when we were all “sexual outlaws.” John Rechy, take note. Everything old is new again.


March 30th, 2011

It’s well past time to dispel the notion that natural law theory is antigay.

Some practitioners have coded a specific antigay moral theory, using the precepts of natural law.

However, ‘natural law’ itself is not antigay.

That is, other practitioners, including religious and social conservatives, are free to fashion a ‘natural law’ that is not needlessly (or recklessly) exclusive of gays or gay marriage and, at the same time, is not a philosophical invitation (or legal one) to some strange liberalization scheme.

This includes the “new” natural law theory, which threw off the old “perverted faculty argument” about homosexuality in favor of a different precept or two.

Timothy Kincaid

March 30th, 2011

I guess the slightly light gray (if not quite silver) lining is that the House has 68 Republicans and 32 Democrats. So at least 19 Republicans do not believe that their personal animus trumps the US Constitution.

Also, this was a vote on whether to bring it out of committee, not a vote on the bill. It’s possible that a few “no” votes were from people who didn’t want to go on record.

Okay, it’s not much, but it’s better than a straight-party-line. Especially in Montana where Republican control is pretty much assured for the foreseeable future.

Timothy Kincaid

March 30th, 2011


Based on my observation, “natural law” as currently used in the US means “the teachings of the Catholic Church”.


March 30th, 2011

@Amicus (and anyone else), “Natural law” is the new “jesus said so” for the far right.

Have you seen FRC’s “Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex Marriage”?

The FRC and others are using these materials to “train” pastors and others in Iowa.

It’s Jesus-lite and tries to pass off “natural law” as though it were some actual legal argument.

In theory, I’m sure it could be different. In practice, it’s the center-piece of their new anti-gay talking points.


March 30th, 2011

Report after report, we are seeing these anti-gay garbage come up recently all over the country. So, we complain and whine about it on these blogs, but what is being done about it? Why isn’t there some form of recall action against this guy in Montana. Words are cheap, action is what counts and I don’t see any action from the gay population of this country to do anything about it. And they know it so they get away with it.


March 30th, 2011


I do not disagree, however, it is being used to give antigay arguments the patina of “reason” and the potentially prejudicial connotations “natural”.

Pointing out that there is no need for “natural law” to be antigay denies them the “black and white fallacy” at the heart of their propaganda, either you believe, with us, or you are part of a “fashionable ideology” (cf. Manhattan Declaration).

Also at risk is their courtroom assertion that they have an appeal to reason in “new natural law”, even to moral reason. Once one reconstructs so that “natural law” is inclusive of the natural fact of gays – yes, fact, not “choice”, then it becomes fairly obvious that their appeal to reason is really their other propaganda technique, i.e. an “appeal to prejudice”.


March 30th, 2011

Is he right about the SCOTUS ruling? Was it just about privacy, or were anti-sodomy laws specifically ruled unconstitutional? So I guess “natural law” and “eternal law” are the Christian equivalent of Sharia Law.

Ben in Oakland

March 31st, 2011

If I recall, Ryan, the Texas decision speicifcally said that bowers vs. hardwicke was wronly decided, but i oculd be wrong about that.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.