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