March 29th, from Diane Sands:
Today I attempted to “blast” SB 276 out of hostile Judiciary Committee and onto the Floor for a vote. This is Senator Facey’s bill to remove offensive language about “Deviate Sexual Conduct”….the law was ruled unconstitutional in 1997 but the legislature insists on keeping it on the books as part of sentence in the Sex Crimes part of MCA that includes bestiality.
Rep. Ken Peterson still claims that the Court didn’t address this issue entirely and that the crime should stay on the books, including the FELONY status with a penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine up to$50,000 or both.
While we didn’t get the 60 votes required, we did get 51, including a number of Republicans who believe it is a privacy issue.
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN THE 20 PLUS YEARS I HAVE WORKED ON THIS TOPIC THAT WE HAVE EVER WON THE MAJORITY OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE!!!!
I view this a great progress, especially with the ultra conservative make up of the current legislature.
Sands, the first openly gay member of the Montana Legislature, is a force of nature and a champion of human rights. The words she chose to introduce her motion are powerful and deserve a look/listen:
The words of the opposition also need to be heard- the ignorance and intolerance are epic, an embarrassment to the State of Montana and, indeed the whole country.