D Gregory Smith

Progress in the Montana Legislature?

Filed By D Gregory Smith | March 30, 2011 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Diane Sands, ignorance, insecure heterosexuals, institutionalized homophobia, legislature, Montana, SB 276

Diane Sands, the first openly gay member of the Montana Legislature and a human rights diane-sands.jpgchampion in the state, yesterday attempted to "blast" SB 276 onto the floor for a full vote.

The motion failed - it needed 60 votes, but for the first time in 20 years of working on this issue, the motion got 51% support - just over half. Is this progress? Yes and no.

This bill would have removed the language of deviate sexual conduct from the Montana code- and bring the code in line with the judiciary- the law was ruled unconstitutional in 1997, but Republicans refuse to remove it from the code. Keeping this meaningless (and illegal) language in the code is simply hateful- slapping the faces, repeatedly, of LGBT persons. There may be more support for equality now more than ever before, but the hate and ignorance can still be very strong in rural America.

But, if you want to hear progress, listen to Rep. Sands as she introduces her motion:

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The men behind Diane are well worth watching, too. They couldn't care less....

That guy who went after Sands saying that the law still applies in certain situations: Are there actual situations where this law is being used or is he just wrong?

Alex, while I do not know of any applications of the Montana sodomy law post-Lawrence, when these laws remain on the books, they remain available to cops and DAs to mis-use, mis-apply, and deploy for the purposes of intimidating, shaming, and sometimes illegally prosecuting people for perfectly legal and private sexual behavior. Case in point: recent prosecutions in New Orleans that target transgender women. I love that Diane Sands is taking this on in Montana! Having worked on sodomy repeal projects in the bad old post-Hardwick years, I am acutely and painfully aware that right-wing legislators froth at the mouth with anti-LGBT political rhetoric whenever the issue comes up. Were this merely a matter of cleaning up penal codes, all of these laws would be gone by now.

Jesse Monteagudo | March 31, 2011 11:31 AM

Montana has an openly gay member of the State Legislature? That's one more than Florida has.