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Montana gay-sex ban still in place

Montana’s House of Representatives on March 29 failed to muster enough votes to force out of committee a bill that would have decriminalized gay sex by redefining “deviate sexual relations.”

The committee had refused to act on the bill, which already had passed the full Senate.

The state Supreme Court struck down the deviate-sexual-conduct law in 1997, saying, “Having concluded that (the law) constitutes a governmental intrusion into Respondents’ right to privacy, guaranteed by Article II, Section 10 of Montana’s Constitution, and finding no compelling state interest for such an intrusion, we hold that (the law) is unconstitutional as applied to Respondents and other consenting adults engaging in private, same-gender, non-commercial, sexual conduct.”

Later, in 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively struck down all gay sex bans remaining in the U.S.

Opponents of repealing the Montana law claimed it still could be useful in situations that involve gay sex that is nonconsensual, incestuous, in public, with minors or for pay.

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