Montana moved one step closer to decriminalizing homosexuality this week when the state legislature passed Senate Bill 107, in a 64 to 36 vote, which, well, decriminalizes homosexuality (video below).
"To say she is any less of a person or she is a criminal for her lifestyle really upsets me," said Rep. Duane Ankney (R-Colstrip), who has a lesbian daughter, reports KXLH-TV.
"It is the thief, the devil, that comes to steal our life, to kill us, to rob us. Christ said I come so that you might have life to the fullest," said Rep. Jerry Bennett (R-Libby), who wants homosexuality to remain a crime. "That's my desire for everyone here."
"To me sex is primarily purposed to produce people," added Rep. Dave Hagstrom (R-Billings). "Sex that doesn't produce people is deviate. That doesn't mean it's a problem, it just means it's not doing its primary purpose."
"I know the power of prayer and the power of God, and I don't think God thinks any less of my daughter than he does of anyone of you in here," Rep. Ankney (pictured) said to his fellow Republicans.
The bill will have to be voted on one more time by the House and then signed by Governor Steve Bullock.
In 1997, the Montana Supreme Court struck down the law against homosexuality, but it has remained in the state law books, reminding gays that they were once felons under Montana law.
Linda Gryczan filed the lawsuit in 1995 that led to that decision in 1997.
“I was actually surprised [by the vote]. Knowing it’s a symbolic victory, I didn’t realize how important it was going to be until it was there,” Gryczan told the Great Falls Tribune.