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Montana passes bill to finally repeal law that made gay sex illegal

Montana passes bill to finally repeal law that made gay sex illegal

The Montana House of Representatives on Wednesday (10 April) passed a bill that officially decriminalizes gay sex under state law.

Even though the law had been struck down by the Montana Supreme Court in 1997 and was not being enforced, it remained on the books.

Senate Bill 107 passed the House with a vote of 65-34, according to Rep. Bryce Bennett, the only openly gay member of The House.

‘What an incredible day for equality and basic dignity,’ Bennett wrote on his Facebook page.

The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Steve Bullock who is expected to sign it into law although he has not commented on the bill.

Despite the state supreme court ruling 16 years ago, language in the state’s deviate sexual conduct law remained which states that criminal homosexual acts between consenting adults and subjects could result in up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine if found guilty.

The law states: ‘Deviate sexual relations’ means sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex or any form of sexual intercourse with an animal.’

‘Folks have been trying to pull this language from our statute in Montana since 1991, so this has been a long time coming,’ Bennett tells Buzzfeed. ‘While it’s exciting that we got this point … we’ve got a number of steps to take forward before we can tackle other issues to make sure everyone in our state is truly equal.’