The 2013 legislative session has held few bright spots for members of Montana’s LGBTQ community and our allies. That could change on Friday, March 15, when the House Judiciary Committee takes up a Senate Bill 107 sponsored by Senator Tom Facey (D-Missoula) that would revise the state’s unconstitutional deviate sexual conduct codes to decriminalize being gay or lesbian.
The bill would change the state’s criminal statute, MCA 45-5-505 which makes it a felony punishable by up to 10 years in the Montana State Prison to engage in “deviate sexual conduct”. The term “deviate sexual conduct” is defined in MCA 45-2-101(21) as sexual conduct or sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex or with animals.
The bill has already passed the Senate, with just 10 Senators voting against it.. However, the bill faces a harder fight in the House. Members of the committee need to hear from you on why it is important to remove this hateful, unconstitutional language from our state code.
You can contact the lawmakers via an online form. Please make sure you select House Judiciary to message the entire committee, and that you indicate that you are in support of SB 107. The hearing is slated for 8 AM this Friday, but folks who aren’t in Helena can stream it live.
Some form of the law has been on the books since Montana became a state, but it criminalizing consensual homosexual activity was ruled unconstitutional in 1997 by the Montana Supreme Court, and in 2003 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas.
Please join the growing chorus of Montanans who believe Senate Bill 107 should pass and contact your lawmakers today.
Caitlin Copple is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Montana. To learn more about Pride Foundation’s work in Montana contact Caitlin.