The Montana Republican Party still wants to make homosexuality illegal. At least if you read the organization's party platform. In June, the party adopted its platform that keeps a long-held position on making homosexual acts illegal.
Missoula Republican candidate Ryan Thompson says criminalizing gay activities isn't part of his platform. He's all for individual freedoms. Thompson says "This platform goes against that view. I'm against the platform, the Missoula Republicans I've talked with around my same age are also against the platform."
The policy states "We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal." The phrasing was first adopted after the Montana Supreme Court struck down such laws in 1997.
Thompson says "In the end this issue's a moot point because the Montana's Supreme Court has already struck it down, so it's never going to pass as law and it's never going to be enforced."
Thompson says the party needs to be accepting of everyone, but State Senate Majority Leader, Jim Peterson disagrees. Peterson says "Marriage should be reserved between a man and a woman. You know I'm not in favor nor do I support homosexuality. Whether it should be criminalized or not, I'm not 100% percent positive but I don't support those acts at all."
Montana's Democratic Party Chairman, Jim Elliot says if the Republicans didn't want the statement in there, it could've been taken out. Elliot says "It's a policy statement that reflects the majority of the Republican Party. That's unfortunate, I don't think it's correct, but that is their belief. If they wanted to take it out, they had a convention in June, last June, they could've taken it out then but it stayed."
Thompson is hopeful that attitude will change. He concluded "There are many moderate Republicans like myself who are against it, and I have a feeling that in two years it will no longer be in the Republican platform."
We attempted to contact Montana GOP Chairman Will Deschamps, and Executive Director Bowen Greenwood several times, but our emails and phone calls were not returned by the time this was posted.