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Montana House Committee Votes To Keep Unconstitutional Sodomy Law On The Books

March 18, 2011 4:10 pm ET by Equality Matters staff

This week, the Montana House Judiciary Committee killed a bill that would have taken the state’s outdated and unenforceable sodomy law off the books.  The law, which criminalized homosexual acts even between consenting adults, was deemed unconstitutional by a 1997 State Supreme Court decision.

The bill faced considerable opposition from the state GOP, which still maintains the criminalization of homosexuality as part of its party platform. During a March 16 committee hearing, Republican committee members launched a viciously anti-gay attack on the bill, equating homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia.

From the March 16 edition of the Montana Democratic Party’s “Capitol Report”: 

Throughout the hearing, GOP members constantly equated homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia. In fact, one opposing witness of the bill went so far as to say all pedophiles are either gay or bisexual.

In an even more disturbing exchange, Rep. Bob Wagner (of Anderson Cooper 360 fame) [linkasked a series of questions that were intended to imply that all homosexual men have HIV and then have to rely and state assistance for their medical care.

Proponents of [the repeal] bill, who have worked multiple legislative sessions, said that this hearing was the most disgusting hearing they have seen in their years at the Capitol.

The bill’s defeat represents the poisonous effect that even unenforceable anti-gay legislation is meant to have on public debates about LGBT equality:

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