House approves law to officially decriminalize gay and lesbian sex

Republican lawmaker gives personal testimony in gay law debate (04-09-13)

BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Montana House endorsed a bill to repeal an obsolete law criminalizing gay and lesbian sex.

The State Supreme Court struck down the law in the 1990s, but it is still on the state books.

Lawmakers debated the bill on the House floor Tuesday, with personal testimony from Republican Representative Duane Ankney, who talked about his daughter, a lesbian. 

"I don't think God thinks any less of my daughter than he does of any of you in here," Ankney said, as he fought tears. "This bill is an embarrassment -- this law is an embarrassment on the good people of Montana."

Other lawmakers spoke against the bill, arguing in favor of the status quo.

"[It] makes it so that there is no way as far as I can see for us to stop our schools -- our grade schools [and] middle schools -- from teaching the homosexual lifestyle as an acceptable lifestyle to our children," said Republican Representative Jerry O'Neil, of Columbia Falls.

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