HELENA, Mont. — Sixteen years after the Montana Supreme Court ruled that the state’s sodomy law was unconstitutional, the obsolete law has been deleted from the books.
On Thursday, Gov. Steve Bullock signed Senate Bill 107 in law and formally decriminalized sodomy in Montana.
For the past 24 years, gay activists and their allies have fought to remove the law. When the Governor signed the bill into law, he was greeted with loud applause by dozens of people who gathered to witness the occasion.
“I am not going to speak too long because, frankly, the longer I talk, the longer this embarrassing and unconstitutional law stays on the books,” Bullock told the crowd.
This was a rare victory for the LGBT community. Montana voters in 2004 to ban marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. State laws do not protect rights of LGBT people. Click HERE for more on LGBT rights in Montana.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas in Lawrence v. Texas in the landmark ruling announced on June 26, 2003. The decision, in effect, invalidated sodomy laws in 13 additional states and made sodomy legal in every U.S. state and territory.
Still, various states, including Montana, failed to remove the obsolete law from their state criminal codes. There is a move this year to remove the sodomy law from the Maryland and Texas criminal codes.