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- The Washington Blade looks at the latest developments in Congress’ work on comprehensive immigration reform and the attempts to include LGBT protections.
- Dean Erwin Chemerinsky analyzes the oral argument transcripts in the marriage cases.
- In Belize, a gay rights activist is going to court to challenge colonial-era laws banning same-sex intimacy.
- The city council of Dallas, Texas will vote on a marriage equality resolution on June 12, but the mayor of Dallas has said the resolution is a misuse of the city council’s time.
- In an editorial, the LA Times says that they’re “not sure any religious exemption is necessary” in the latest version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
- This month marks the 60 year anniversary of President Eisenhower’s Executive Order 10450, which launched investigations leading to purges of gay and lesbians from federal jobs. (Some of this history is recalled in the Justice Department’s filings in federal challenges to DOMA.)
By Scottie Thomaston
- The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will be introduced in Congress on Thursday.
- The chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is co-sponsoring the marriage equality bill in the state.
- A state senator in Minnesota who is considered a swing vote on the marriage equality bill has said he will vote for it.
- During a debate in Nevada on efforts to begin the process of repealing the state’s same-sex marriage ban, a state senator came out as gay.
- CNBC reports on the financial aspects of the eventual end of the federal DOMA.
- Former GOP congressman Jim Kolbe is pushing for the inclusion of LGBT families in a proposed immigration reform bill.
By Jacob Combs
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, signed a bill into law yesterday that officially decriminalizes gay sex more than 16 years after the Montana Supreme Court ruled the state’s sodomy ban unconstitutional.
“I am not going to speak too long,” Bullock said to a standing-room only crowd in the state rotunda during a signing ceremony for the bill, “because frankly, the longer I talk, the longer this unconstitutional and embarrassing law continues to stay on our books.”
Previous legislative attempts to remove the sodomy ban from the books in Montana were unsuccessful, but this year, repeal passed the state Senate 38-11 and the House 64-35. The law has been unenforceable since 1997, when the Montana Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. That decision was later backed up by the Supreme Court 2003 opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws across the U.S. When a law is invalidated by the courts, it becomes unenforceable, but remains on the books and can only be removed by a vote of the legislature.
Last year, at a party convention, the Montana GOP renounced its position of support for the ban as part of its platform, paving the way for a renewed legislative push that could garner more support from Republican legislators. Two repeal bills, in fact, were prepared in late 2012 for this year’s legislative session, one written by Democrat Tom Facey and one by Republican Nicholas Schwarderer. Although it was Facey’s bill that was eventually adopted, Schwarderer told the Huffington Post last years, “In Montana we have a legacy of respecting people’s rights. This flies in the face of what we’re about.”
Seventeen other states still have unenforceable sodomy ban statutes in their state codes. A bill which is currently pending in Texas to repeal that state’s ban was advanced by a Senate committee on a unanimous 5-0 vote this week.
Below the jump, watch a video of the celebration that broke out in the Montana capitol building moments after Gov. Bullock signed the repeal bill into law.