Wrong Side Of History

An excellent post by The Montana Cowgirl (reposted with her permission)

Montana lawmakers who have spent the entirety of their paltry careers voting against equality now find themselves on the wrong side of history.  In the wake of the upcoming supreme court decision on equal marriage, no one who reads a newspaper can come to any other conclusion.  Even Rush Limbaugh says marriage equality is inevitable.

The nutjob wing of Montana’s Republican Party  aren’t just wrong, they’re way out in right field, and soon to be there alone.   Montana is one of only four states that has a law on the books that makes being gay an imprisonable offense.  This fact alone is despicable, but when you consider what else the Montana Legislature has done you start to wonder if the Montana legislature isn’t among the most bigoted in America.

Consider this: During the past 21 legislative sessions least 32 bills have been introduced to make all Montanans equal under the law.  Some, like Sen. Facey’s SB 107 attempted to repeal the “deviate sexual conduct” law, other would have prevent discrimination in housing, or stopped the bullying of young people in schools. Many have been introduced by Sen. Christine Kaufmann, of Helena.

Not a single one of these bills has ever passed in the history of this state.

But it’s worse than that.  The Montana legislature isn’t content with blocking equality bills.  They’ve tried year after year to make things worse.
Montana LegislatureLook what they did in 1995, when Republican Senator Rick Holden added an amendment to a bill to require gay men and lesbians to register as felony sex offenders. Democrats tried to remove the amendment, but 32 of 50 Senators voted to keep it in.

It was only after twenty-four hours of scathing national press coverage from CNN that the Republicans were finally forced to take the sex offender amendment out. But not before Billings GOP Sen. Al Bishop decided to share his beliefs with the world.  He said consensual activity between people of the same sex was “a worse offense than rape.” (The bill was HB 214 and predates the online legislative search.)

Anyway, the Chick-Fil-A munching bunch was not happy to be denied a “felony sex offender registry” of gay citizens. A couple of days later anti-gay slurs and graffiti were “scrawled across the doors of the capitol, and a famous statue was defaced. With no sense of irony, and no mention of the anti-gay nature of the spray-painted slogans, Senators introduced a bill to make defacing the capitol a felony.”

And who could forget what happened ten years later in 2005, when the all-day kindergarten was opposed by religious right Repubs, who claimed bill was part of the “gay agenda.” “The purported evidence given by these groups was that gay activists were NOT at the hearing, proving it was part of the activists’ secret agenda.”

Public sentiment is now so firmly behind equality that the reaction to democratic politicians who announce their support at this late date ranges from “who isn’t” to “where were you earlier.”  The Montana Senate even voted, finally, to erase our “anti-sodomy law” which makes it an imprisonable crime to be gay.  Although invalidated by our state supreme court in 1997, the law has remained on our books because Republicans have always refused to go along with efforts to scrap it.

Now, SB 107, a measure to strike the offensive language from our statutes finally passed the senate.  That said, the vote was far from unanimous.  Ten Republicans voted no.

Any day now the bill will be voted on in committee, and then on the Floor of the House.  No assumptions can be made about body which includes Verdell Jackson, Krayton Kearns, David Howard and Jerry O’Neil, so start contacting  the lawmakers in the House of Representatives, which you can do via this online form. FYI, you can always use the back button after submitting your message, which allows you to skip retyping all your info when you contact multiple legislators. Or you can cut and paste this list of House GOP legislators.

Conservatives were on the wrong side of history with women’s suffrage, they were on the wrong side of segregation.  Let’s see whose side they’re on now.

Judy Martz: War On Women “Made Up”

Just when you thought it was safe to, well, do anything- Judy Martz starts doing what she does best: muddying the waters of Montana politics. And guess who’s helping her?

From Montana Cowgirl Blog:

The GOP’s War on Women is “something fictitious and made up,” former Governor Judy Martz told a group of Havre Republicans yesterday.  The Havre Daily News has the story on the latest  ludicrous statement from the former Republican governor.

Martz is infamous for diminishing the dangers of domestic violence and belittling the women who are its victims. In a January, 2001 speech to an audience of 650 people in Butte, Martz said:

“My husband has never battered me, but then again, I’ve never given him a reason to.”

Besides Martz, the dream team that Republicans assembed to convince us that there is no War on Women included: TEA Party legislators Rep. Wendy Warburton and Kris Hansen of Havre,  candidate for state school superintendent Sandy Welch, and Ronalee Skees. Ronalee is the wife of TEA Party poster boy Rep. Derek Skees, who is running for state auditor.

I can’t think of a worse group of women to make the claim that women’s rights aren’t under attack.  These GOPers exemplify the efforts to restrict women’s rights.  Each  has either introduced anti-women legislation or championed the War on Women through work with right-wing causes.

Definitely do not miss reading this entire article.  The Martz quotes alone are mind-bogglingly stupid. There’s even a reference to something Martz calls “meanness ears.”

But Martz’s loony, oddly-worded statements are only the beginning.  Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Sandy Welch, who is a transplant from California, told the Havre Republicans of her belief that there is no glass ceiling. Rather, says Welch, women just “weren’t going into positions that would advance them to leadership” by choice.  Even Welch’s idol Sarah Palin talked about the importance of breaking the glass ceiling. Perhaps Welch doesn’t read the paper.

And let’s not forget Wendy Warburton’s explanation for the lack of GOP women candidates. Warburton said a couple of years back, “the biggest reason that more women who are Republicans don’t get into politics is because we are the pro-family party” and are home raising kids like the women of the pro-family party should be.

Read the whole article here.

Who Is Denny Rehberg Really?

Find out here.

Bozeman Rep.Tom Burnett’s Crusade Against Hungry Kids

is highlighted over at Cowgirl. Excerpt:

“Using his signature method of anecdotes and unsupported claims, Rep. Burnett (R-Bozeman) is ramping up his crusade for a massive food police bureaucracy to restrict food to needy children.

The Montana TEA Party legislator stated in a Wisconsin newspaper this week that we shouldn’t be helping needy kids who don’t get school lunch because school is out–in spite of the increase in hungry kids seeking food in the last five years.”

Tom Burnett is currently running unopposed in House District 63 until Democrats find a replacement for Marty Livingston, who withdrew in June.

Please God, let them find a good one….

Rehberg Can’t Even Make A Veiled Threat

It’s arrogant, overt- and dangerous. From Cowgirl:

It has been one month since six people where gunned down and killed in Tuscon including Federal Judge John Roll and while Cong. Gabby Gifford recovers in a rehab facility, her colleague  Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg of Montana takes this whole civility thing I think to a new low, a new level.
In a prepared speech to the Montana Legilsature, a prespare speech Rehberg questions a federal judges decision to put the gray wolf on the endangered species list.
(Rehberg)“When I first heart this decision like many of you, I wanted to take action immediately.
I asked ‘How can we put some of these judicial activists on the endangered species act.’
Im still working on that.”
[loud laughter from GOP legislators]

Read the rest and see the video here.

Now a YouTube video: 

Cowgirl catches extremist link


Amazing story over on Montana Cowgirl about the link between right-wing extremists and Guy Fawkes ( remember V for Vendetta?).

Check it out here.

Oh, and read the comments, both here and there. Join in!

An Excellent Summary

Jay Stevens offers a well-balanced view of Cowgirlgate over at Left In The West.

Thanks, Jay.