Montana Legislature: Actively Working To Shame Gay People

Updated. See below….
Things seemed hopeful at the start of this session. From the Great Falls Tribune:

SHAME

SHAME (Photo credit: BlueRobot)

The Montana Supreme Court in 1997 ruled as unconstitutional the portion of the deviate sexual relations law that includes “sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex” in the definition that also includes bestiality.

Senate Bill 107, carried by Sen. Tom Facey, would remove it from state code. The Missoula Democrat said the time has come to strike a law that is unenforceable and offensive.

“Words do matter. I hope you can pass this bill to get the unconstitutional words out of our code,” Facey said.

Groups opposed to the law have tried for years to get the Legislature to formally strike language they argue is hurtful. Two years ago, a similar proposal to repeal the law cleared the Senate only to die in the more conservative House.

But since then, the Montana Republican Party has removed from its platform the position that it seeks to make homosexual acts illegal. The party remains opposed to gay marriage.

Freshman Republican state Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer, of Superior, said he is co-sponsoring the measure because it “respects the rights of Montanans.”

But that was then, this is now. Jamee Greer, lobbyist for the Montana Human Rights Network said this yesterday:

The Montana Senate can’t even take an up-or-down vote on whether or not the law should say gays and lesbians deserve ten years in prison and/or $50,000 fines – simply for being gays and lesbians.

Word is they’re sending the bill back to committee to attach bad amendments to it requested by a Bitterroot-based anti-gay activist, Dallas Erickson. This motion would happen during the Senate floor session, possibly as soon as Wednesday (today).

Why back to committee? If it comes up quietly during an executive action, which can happen at pretty much any time, maybe there won’t be network television news cameras in front of them. Maybe the Associated Press and USAToday will miss it.

Maybe, just maybe, some members of the legislature can get away with labeling gay and lesbian Montanans as “deviates” and “felons” for another year and avoid the national embarrassment that will surely come with such an unfortunate decision.

Maybe, just maybe.

Maybe they’ll knock it off if we get enough attention on this issue. Anyone have Rachel Maddow’s number?

Update From Jamee: The Senate has not moved SB107 back to committee during floor session today- to amend or “kill” the bill “quietly” in committee….

This can still happen during any floor session, so until they finally give the bill an up-or-down vote, it is in play.

It is a simple question: do you think gays deserve to be associated in the law with those who molest animals, and punished by fines of $50,000 and ten years in jail?

JUST VOTE ALREADY!

In One of His First Acts as Congressman, Daines Supports Unconstitutional DOMA

DainesToday, the country bid a not-so-fond farewell to the 112th Congress (including Denny Rehberg), and swore in the new 113th Congress with Steve Daines.

What was the first thing this shiny new Congress did?

Well, Daines, who ran on a “more jobs, less government” platform, cast one of his first votes in favor of the House continuing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) which denies hundreds of benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

Apparently when Daines said “more jobs” he meant “more jobs for lawyers defending blatantly unconstitutional archaic laws.”

DOMA is the Clinton-era law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. This law denies benefits to the same-sex partners of military members killed while fighting for our country. It also prohibits the federal government from recognizing bi-national same-sex couples in immigration cases, which has led to several high-profile deportations. It also refuses to acknowledge same-sex spouses in relation to Social Security survivor benefits.

This law is clearly unconstitutional, which is why in early 2011 the Obama administration’s Department of Justice announced they would no longer defend the law. Our illustrious House members though chose to pick up the torch of bigotry and continued to defend the law at the taxpayer’s expense. Thus far, Steve Daines, John Boehner and the Republicans in the House have spent more than $1.7 million defending this law.

The latest expenditure in support of DOMA was actually buried within the House of Representative rules that the new Congress approved today. Generally these rules simply lay out the process for how the House will run. To bury an appropriation inside this bill is an unprecedented abuse of the process.

This is just the latest example of the clear hypocrisy of Daines and his tea party colleagues advocating for smaller government except for when they don’t.

DOMA, ruled as unconstitutional ten different times in seven different cases, will face the US Supreme Court later this year.

 

Catholics And The “Kill The Gays” Bill

From New Ways Ministry Blog:

Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill, which would impose the death penalty on certain people convicted of having sexual relations with a person of the same sex, seems poised for passage soon.

The Associated Press reports that Rebecca Kadaga (pictured, left), Uganda’s Parliamentary Speaker, announced yesterday that the bill will be going forward for a vote in the next few weeks:

“Ugandans ‘are demanding it,’ she said, reiterating a promise she made before a meeting on Friday of anti-gay activists who spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals to Uganda’s children. Some Christian clerics at the meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, asked the speaker to pass the law as ‘a Christmas gift.’

“ ‘Speaker, we cannot sit back while such (a) destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation,’ the activists said in a petition. ‘We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament … so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.’ ”

report in The Advocate notes that the bill can be put to a vote in a matter of two weeks.

news story in the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News provides some background on the criminal status of homosexuality in Uganda, as well as what the proposed law would mandate:

“Even without the law, Uganda already has laws that criminalize homosexuality and is one of 76 countries where it is illegal to be gay. The proposed law would broaden existing laws, and includes the death penalty to those convicted of aggravated homosexuality and life imprisonment for those convicted of the offense of homosexuality.

“Aggravated homosexuality is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders.

“Offense of homosexuality is defined as same-sex sexual acts or being involved in a same-sex relationship.”

Shamefully silent on this bill have been the Catholic bishops of Uganda, a heavily Catholic nation.  Indeed, earlier this summer it was reported that the Catholic bishops reversed their position from quiet opposition to the bill to outright support for it.

Catholic leaders in the U.S. have spoken in opposition to the bill, including Ambassador Thomas P. Melady, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican.  President Barack Obama has called the bill “odious.”

More Catholic voices will be needed to defeat this horrendous law.  Indeed, in July Ugandan LGBT rights advocatescalled on the international community, including religious leaders, to lend their voices to oppose the bill.

Catholic bishops here in the United States and Vatican leaders in Rome need to lend their voices to international opposition to the proposed law.  Silence is not an option at this point.  Too many innocent lives hang in the balance.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Log Cabin Republicans “Sell Out”- Endorse Romney

Today, the Log Cabin Republicans endorsed Mitt Romney for president. National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jerame Davis had the following reaction:

“The Log Cabin Republicans have proven once and for all that they are not an organization aligned with the LGBT movement. They are a Republican front group bumbling their way into fooling LGBT voters that it’s OK to support a party that would legislate us back into the closet.

“Their endorsement of Mitt Romney isn’t just shameful – it’s insulting. Mitt Romney stands for nothing positive for LGBT people. He supports a federal marriage amendment (which was a reason for Log Cabin to refuse to endorse George W. Bush in 2004). He supports McCarthy-like investigations into our community for evidence of ‘harassment of Christians’. He opposes the repeal of DOMA. He opposes ENDA. He’s even said things as basic as the right to visit your sick or dying loved one in the hospital is a ‘privilege’ and not a right.

“On top of all of that, Mitt Romney is a liar. He has told so many untruths and changed his positions so many times throughout this campaign, how can Log Cabin – or anyone – trust a word he would say? A person with no moral compass goes whichever way the political winds blow. With Mitt Romney in charge of the ship of state, we would be a rudderless nation with nothing but luck to keep us from crashing into the rocky shore – and Log Cabin Republicans believes this is the best their party and our country can muster.

“It’s a disgrace. A once venerated and decent organization has become a shell of itself blithely pandering to the least common denominator. This is politics at its worst – when a community sells out its own people for the gain of a few individuals. There is little doubt that Clarke Coooper’s position on the RNC finance committee played a major role in this decision. Of course, so did their blinding fear of GOProud nipping at their heels.

“So there you have it – the Log Cabin Republicans, who screamed loudly and forcefully for months that liberal groups and LGBT movement posturing weren’t going to affect their endorsements have instead allowed the interests of money sucking GOP insiders and the fear of a conservative performance troupe to decide their endorsement for them.

“It’s reprehensible. Have they no decency?”

My take is this: For today’s Log Cabin Republicans, human rights take a back seat to economic rights might. They are willing to endorse candidates and policies that cause people like themselves greater suffering and indignity in favor of currying political clout with a party that loathes them.

It’s a real-world example of Stockholm Syndrome- where the captive becomes sympathetic to their captor, never realizing they have no freedom until they leave.

 

Where DO Non-taxpayers Live?

Mostly in red states. The Atlantic:

Click for story

AIDS Activists Arrested At Rehberg’s Office

…for protesting the needle exchange ban “sneaked” into the Federal Funding Bill in December- despite scientific research which shows that it does not promote drug use, but does stem the progress of infectious disease.  From The Missoula Indy:

via wikipedia

A demonstration by AIDS activists Wednesday morning targeted Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana and other congressmen for their role in “sneaking in” a federal ban on clean needle exchange programs. Ten activists were arrested outside Rehberg’s office. Capitol Police put the total number of those arrested at 29; activist organizations say the number was actually 32.

The Huffington Post described the background of the demonstration:

“Rehberg was targeted for his role as chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on health and human services, where he led the effort to ban funding for needle exchange programs, adding it to a House spending bill that funded the federal government through fiscal year 2012…

The ban was originally adopted in 1989 but was finally lifted by Congress in 2009. Republicans lawmakers quietly slipped the ban back into their spending bill in December of last year.”

In addition to Rehberg, activists targeted Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). There were also rallies in New York outside the offices of Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The groups taking credit for the demonstrations were Housing WorksHealth Global Access Project and Citiwide Harm Reduction.

Activists are against the ban because studies show that clean needle programs help curb the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, and reduce the rate of new HIV infections among injection drug users by as much as 80 percent. The Huffington Post article also notes that additional research shows “syringe exchange programs do not increase the numbers of injection drug users and can further reduce long-term healthcare costs for people with HIV or hepatitis C.”

Indy reporter Jessica Mayrer wrote a 2010 cover story about outreach workers across Montana working on HIV and hepatitis C prevention programs, and how drastic cuts to funding were affecting their efforts.

The false meme that is promoted is this: clean needles encourage drug use and do not prevent the spread of disease.
The truth is this: clean needles do not significantly increase drug use and do prevent the spread of disease.

The only logical conclusion is this: the lawmakers who promoted this ban want those who use needles to spread and to die of deadly disease.

They are not interested in public health, they are interested in shaming people with disease (addiction, Hep C, HIV). Completely and utterly irresponsible.

Racist Judge Makes The Washington Post

I was worried that the bestiality-inferring racist email sent by Federal Judge Richard Cebull of Billings might go unnoticed by most of the national media- thank God I was wrong.

The Washington Post today picked up the original GF Tribune story, as did the Los Angeles Times, which added this:

The Tribune said it received the email after it had been forwarded several times in a chain that began at its original recipients. Cebull said he was “surprised” it had been passed along with his name attached to it, the newspaper said.

The Colbert Report ticket

The Colbert Report ticket (Photo credit: eszter)

Again, he’s not sorry he did it, just sorry he got caught. And probably wondering which one of his buddies or (buddies friends) turned him in.

Dare I hope to see this story on tv tonight? -at least The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Cross your fingers, light a candle and forward, retweet and write about this as often as you can….

In any case, this story warrants two new categories here on the site: Hypocrisy At Work and Conduct Unbecoming.