Would you believe that there are still laws on the books covering sodomy in this nation. Oh, certainly they cannot be enforced, just ask Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia, but some states are starting to make sure that the unconstitutional laws are repealed officially. Of course, this is not all going swimingly.
Montana’s House of Representatives barely salvaged a bill to repeal the state’s sodomy law. The salvaging came thanks to Representative Bryce Bennett, a Democrat. The House Judiciary Committee had tabled the law. Bennett, who is openly gay, took to the floor to make an impassioned plea for the bill to have a full floor vote.
Under this law, I could be imprisoned for up to ten years for being part of a loving, caring relationship. I’ve said before though, I know this law is not constitutional. It’s not being enforced. I’m not worried about being arrested and taken to jail but I still feel the sting of this law still. Because words are very important and they matter. The fact that years later this language is still on the books means that our state still sees me as a criminal. The belief that I am a second-class citizen in a state I was born in and called home my entire life.
Trying to counter his plea, Republicans took to the Bible and to their anti-gay hate spiel in order to attack the attempt to repeal the law. Among those attacks were those claiming that homosexuality is immoral, that the “courts get it wrong” sometimes, that LGBT people lack “moral character” (Krayton Kerns), that God “has not changed His mind” about homosexuality (David Halvorson), and a few others. One Democrat, Amanda Curtis, wanted to “walk across the floor and punch” Kerns for his statements.
The motion passed 60 to 38.
The ban on sodomy in Montana was first deemed unconstitutional in 1998 by the state supreme court, and then in 2003 by the US Supreme Court. Montana is one of the states that still has a ban on sodomy for consensual adults in place despite these rulings.
Here are Bennett, Kerns and Halvorson testifying about this repeal: