Today, Sen. Tom Facey presented his bill to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill seeks to bring Montana criminal code into compliance with a supreme court ruling from nearly 15 years ago. This ruling stated that the law that criminalizes homosexual acts is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the law criminalizing homosexual acts remained on our books, even though it is unenforceable.
Sen. Facey said the reason he brought this bill to the legislature is because words matter. And the fact that this law remains on our books sends a message to gay and lesbian people in our state.
Unfortunately, members of the committee did not hear Sen. Facey when he said “words matter.” Throughout the hearing, GOP members constantly equated homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia. In fact, one opposing witness of the bill went so far as to say all pedophiles are either gay or bisexual.
In an even more disturbing exchange, Rep. Bob Wagner (of Anderson Cooper 360 fame) asked a series of questions that were intended to imply that all homosexual men have HIV and then have to rely and state assistance for their medical care.
Proponents of Sen. Facey’s bill, who have worked multiple legislative sessions, said that this hearing was the most disgusting hearing they have seen in their years at the Capitol.
The hearing today clearly highlighted why this bill is so important. Having this law on our books reinforces the disgusting behavior of some members of the committee.