The House Lacks the Courage to Debate Archaic SB 276

Today, Representative Sands gave an impassioned, personal speech, trying to force the House of Representatives to debate SB 276, which would finally strike down language in the Montana Code that criminalizes sexual behavior between consenting adults of the same sex. Despite powerful speeches from a number of Representatives, discussing the impact of the law on their lives and families, the cowards in the Republican caucus refused to even bring the bill to the floor for debate.

Even the Senate, hardly a bastion of progressive thinking, voted 35-14 to strike down this language.

There is no place for bigotry enshrined in law. There is no place for government in our bedrooms or our hearts. There is no place in the Montana Code for this unconstitutional, hateful language.

This law will vanish. The radical right in the House of Representatives is clearly on the wrong side of history. The vote to bring the bill to the floor received 51 votes, which suggests that this session might finally have been the one that saw this hateful, clearly unequal language stricken from the laws.

Thank you, Representative Sands, for your efforts to restore a sense of justice and decency to this session. Unfortunately, you were talking to 49 people who have no sense of either. Thank you, too, to the Republican representatives for breaking ranks with their party—and the Democrats who have been standing up for human rights all session.

These Republicans voted to bring SB 276 to the floor: Reps.  Ankney, Clarke, Connell, Cook, Cuffe, Esp, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Gibson, Greef, Hoven, Knutsen, Lavinders, McLaren, McNutt, Miller, Roberts, Welborn, and Yates

Thanks to Mike Wessler, for posting the speech that Representative Sands gave.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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