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House panel hears bill to decriminalize gay sex

By Associated Press
Published On: Mar 15 2013 11:53:06 AM MDT
GAVEL GAY
HELENA, Mont. -

A House panel is considering a measure that would remove an obsolete Montana law that criminalizes gay sex.
    
Senate Bill 107 reflects a 1997 Montana Supreme Court ruling that said the law prohibiting gay sex is unconstitutional.
    
The measure to strike the language has already passed the state Senate but now it is before the House Judiciary Committee - the same panel that killed a similar bill in 2011.
    
Democratic Sen. Tom Facey of Missoula presented the measure Friday.  Advocates say the existing law, though obsolete, is still hurtful because it treats gay people as second-class citizens.
    
They say the bill is necessary to protect privacy rights of all Montanans.
    
Opponents argue passage of the measure would contradict Montana's value system.
    
The committee didn't take immediate action.