Newsflash! MT GOP Hates Human Rights (and LGBT People)

It’s been a rough few weeks for LGBT persons in Montana.

I testified at the legislature (with many of my brothers and sisters) against HB 516 which would overturn (perhaps even unconstitutionally) the right of cities and towns to enact their own anti-discrimination legislation. It passed out of committee- despite the amazingly logical arguments against it.

And Senate Bill 276, introduced by Tom Facey would have brought the criminal code into line with the judiciary- in effect aligning the language with the law, by removing the language of the deviate conduct laws which criminalize sexual behavior between consenting adults of the same gender. Bringing the language of the law in line with legal precedent. A no-brainer, right?

Sigh. Not for these Republican legislators. It just got worse. The hearing had some of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard– much less to be spoken publicly by elected officials. The Billings Gazette had this to say:

Also turned back was a plan to get rid of a state law making gay sex subject to criminal penalties — even though the courts have ruled it unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Republicans, in a 13-7 vote, stacked up against the idea of removing from the books the law offensive to the gay community, which has argued over the years that the antiquated law sends a hostile message.

But House Republicans stuck with their party’s platform that calls for keeping the anti-gay law, even though many Senate Republicans had supported the idea in sending it to the other chamber.

“Voting to say this should stay on the books is truly a cruel act,” said Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula. “When you cast that vote you said that I and other members of this Legislature who are gay or lesbian should go to prison for up to 10 years for whom I love. Don’t come up to me later and say you are sorry.”

The Montana GOP has made things very clear- they don’t give a shit about human rights, they don’t give a shit about science and they don’t give a shit about gay people. In fact, they hate them. The only reason not to pass this bill was to slap the faces- repeatedly- of Montana LGBT persons. The only reason. That’s hate.

The plank that still stands in the Montana GOP Platform that promotes the criminalization of “homosexual” acts, I argued before, is anachronistic and hateful and should be removed.

I’ve changed my mind.

It should stay because that’s exactly what they believe. That kind of ridiculous hate and intolerance is exactly what the GOP legislators have sanctioned, promoted and supported. I thought that out of deference to some amazingly open Republican Montanans I know (and am related to) that this kind of thing could be avoided- that the official government of Montana would not tell LGBT kids that they are less valuable than others, that it wouldn’t keep LGBT adults living under the specter of vilification, intolerance and second-class citizenship.

I was wrong.

The MT GOP is intolerant and anti-gay. Period. And the people of Montana need to know that- without equivocation.

So, if you’re a Republican-leaning Montanan and you’re saying to yourself, “These legislators are crazy, they don’t speak for me,” you’re wrong. They do. And if you don’t follow the same ignorant, bigoted stance they are taking, you need to speak up.


And maybe consider leaving the party of bigotry and ignorance. Because, like it or not, the Montana Democrats are the only people standing united for human rights.

And if you’re an LGBT person who is still a Republican, the only thing I can (honestly) say is “Why? They hate you. Do you hate yourself?”

Because- mark my words, it’s just going to get worse.

10 comments on “Newsflash! MT GOP Hates Human Rights (and LGBT People)

  1. Skip Godfrey says:

    The prejudiced Republicans have spoken – how very very sad ! I’m not a native Montanan but in the 30 plus years I’ve lived here, I’ve grown to truly love this state and many of its people. Yes, it’s a conservative state but some aspects of conservatism are welcomed – certainly with the financial problems facing all of us, a bit of fiscal responsibility is a good thing. Hatred, and an attitude of “if you’re different from me, I’ll squash you”, are NOT good things in any way at all. For the first time, I am ashamed of my state – and when finances allow, I am seriously considering moving. Fortunately, there are many voices in this State who do NOT agree with the Republicans or their platform, certainly as far as human rights are concerned. I am perennially optimistic, but it’s looking pretty dismal right about now !

    Skip Godfrey


  2. Newsflash! MT GOP Hates Human Rights (and LGBT People) | From ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……


  3. […] maybe my last post about the miserable treatment LGBT persons have received at the hands of this legislature had something to do with […]


  4. Jedediah Redman says:

    If you grew up in Montana, you know the constituency was formed by the Anaconda/Montana Power axis.
    Nothing significant has happened to make them realize the collar has been loosed. Most of them are Republican and RightWing as a learned response over many generations. And immigration has happened because of that history; so there is nothing working to move voters away from the ignorance which has served them so well all their lives–or since they came here voluntarily.


  5. […] Gregory Smith wrote a couple of great posts about HB 516: one about the anti-gay attitudes of many Republicans at the Legislature and another about the line between righteous, necessary […]


  6. Tim says:

    It’s really difficult to believe the thrust of this post for one central reason:

    The Republican controlled State Senate passed this bill before it was sent to the House. How can you really stereotype all MT GOP and Montana Republicans when on this one issue they’ve been on both sides? If they’re all bigots, how did it get out of the Senate? If they’re all moderates, why did it fail in the House?

    Greg, this whole session is a great example of the reason having bicameral legislative bodies produces the most reasoned, moderate outcomes, even when both chambers are controlled by the same party. House members are elected by a smaller pool of voters, so they are usually more reflective of more extreme or “mob” style mentalities. State Senators have larger legislative districts, and therefore must rule in a more moderate style since they have larger constituencies with more diverse views.

    While its disappointing this wasn’t taken off the books, I wouldn’t take the opinions of one close-minded bigot who got half the farmers in BFE Montana to vote for him as the gospel of an entire political party. It’s unfortunate newspapers rely on the most extreme voices to try and paint people with their own agendas and get people riled up to sell newspapers, but please don’t prejudge it as reflective of the entire 60-70% of Montanans who voted Republican last year. I know it’s difficult going into these testimonies and facing some hateful rhetoric, but trying to characterize one extreme part of the process as somehow a reflection on the whole isn’t fair.

    I’ve met some very supportive people on the Republican side, and some very hateful Democrats who would throw gay people under the bus for votes as well. I don’t judge every Republican or every Democrat by those individual experiences. Stay strong, friend. 🙂


  7. […] Mostly it was about third-rate candidates such as Billy Bob Wagner, who introduced legislation to reinstate the gold standard, and was laughed at nationally on Anderson Cooper 360 for his ridiculous “birther” bill (but mostly for his stupidity). Then there was Kris Hansen, a “secret lesbian” who introduced one of the most pro-discrimination legislative actions to ever hit the aisles of the Capitol. Mary Cheney, anyone? And the Montana GOP, for no good reason other than to perpetuate hate and shame, voted to keep The Gays illegal- and we heard some of the most disgusting testimony to ever foul a Ca…. […]


  8. […] exception: Ruben Diaz). The ignorant and hateful things Montana legislators have said on record have been well-documented here and on other sites (not so much in the Montana newspapers) and, you guessed it- they come from […]


  9. […] several states- including Montana- still keep these shameful and impotent laws on the books- despite reasonable efforts to remove them- presumably as a slap in the face to the “Uppity Gays”. And yes, I will mention […]


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