Montana formally decriminalizes same-sex intercourse

[JURIST] Montana Governor Steve Bullock [official website] on Thursday approved a revision [SB107, PDF] to the state code that formally decriminalizes same-sex intercourse in the state. The bill struck from the state code a phrase stating that deviate sexual relations entail "sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex." The revision passed through the Montana House with a 64-35 vote, and was approved by the Senate [official websites] with a vote of 38-11. The bill is largely symbolic, as the outdated code has not been used to prosecute individuals for several years, but LGBT rights activists applauded the legislation as an important step toward equality.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is a contentious issue across the US with several cases currently pending at both the state and federal level. In March, the US Supreme Court heard two cases [JURIST report] that deal with same-sex marriage. In Hollingsworth v. Perry [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court is examining the validity of Proposition 8 [JURIST news archive], a California referendum that revoked same-sex marriage rights. In United States v. Windsor [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court is examining the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA. Also in March, the Colorado House of Representatives voted to legalize civil unions [JURIST report] for same-sex couples. In February, the Illinois senate approved [JURIST report] same-sex marriage legislation. In January the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a similar bill [JURIST report].

 

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