Montana GOP: Platform attacks gay rights

2010-09-20T21:00:00Z 2010-09-20T21:01:59Z Montana GOP: Platform attacks gay rightsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
September 20, 2010 9:00 pm  • 

HELENA - At a time when gays have been gaining victories across the country, the Republican Party in Montana still wants to make

homosexuality illegal.

The party adopted an official platform in June that keeps a long-held position in support of making homosexual acts illegal, a policy adopted after the Montana Supreme Court struck down such laws in 1997.

The fact that it's still the official party policy more than 12 years later, despite a tidal shift in public attitudes since then and the party's own pledge of support for

individual freedoms, has exasperated some GOP


"I looked at that and said, ‘You've got to be kidding me,"‘ state Sen. John Brueggeman,

R-Polson, said last week. "Should it get taken out? Absolutely. Does anybody think we should be arresting homo-sexual people? If you take that stand, you really probably shouldn't be in the Republican Party."

Gay rights have been

rapidly advancing nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court

struck down Texas' sodomy law in 2003's Lawrence v. Texas decision. Gay marriage is now allowed in five states and Washington, D.C., a federal court recently ruled the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy unconstitutional, and even a conservative tea party group in Montana ousted its president over an anti-gay exchange in Facebook.

But going against the grain is the Montana GOP statement, which falls under the "Crime" section of the GOP platform. It states: "We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal."

Montana GOP Executive Director Bowen Greenwood said that has been the position of the party since the state Supreme Court struck down state laws criminalizing homosexuality in 1997 in the case of Gryczan v. Montana.

Nobody has ever taken the initiative to change it and so it's remained in the party platform, Greenwood said. The matter has never even come up for discussion, he said.

"There had been at the time, and still is, a substantial portion of Republican legislators that believe it is more important for the Legislature to make the law instead of the Supreme Court," Greenwood said.

Critics say the policy is a toothless statement, the effect of which is simply to make gays feel excluded. A University of Montana law professor says Montana's 1997 case and the U.S. Supreme Court's Lawrence decision means there's no real chance for the state GOP to act on its position.

"To me, that statement legally is hollow," said constitutional specialist Jack Tuholske. "The principle under Gryczan and under Lawrence, that's the fundamental law of the land and the Legislature can't override the Constitution. It might express their view, but as far as a legal reality, it's a hollow view and can't come to pass."

Montana Human Rights Network organizer Kim Abbott said the GOP platform statement does not represent the attitudes of most Montanans, and it shows that the party is out of touch with the prevalent view of the people they are supposed to represent.

"It speaks volumes to the lesbian and gay community how they are perceived by the Republican Party," Abbott said. "It would be nice if Republicans that understand that gay people are human beings would stand up and say they don't agree with that. But I don't know how likely that is."

Brueggeman suspects that the vast majority of the party believes, as he does, that the Republican party should remove statement. It's against every conservative principle for limited government and issues like this exemplify how a political party can interfere with the relationship between lawmakers and their constituents.

"I just hope it's something that's so sensitive that people don't want to touch it," he said. "Even if there wasn't a Supreme Court decision, does anyone really believe that it should be illegal?"

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. oldgas
    Report Abuse
    oldgas - September 21, 2010 9:29 pm
    ‘ state Sen. John Brueggeman, and other political people sway with the wind on issues to keep their foot in the door and their careers going strong . Bandwagon riders !, my ole man would say. Anyway Sen, Yes , There are a lot of people who ARE in Montana and Against Homosexuality of any sort . Don't believe it ,,Try a ballot issue something like this ..If you believe homosexual life style is A-OK , send me a dollar. If you do Not agree do nothing. I'll Tally up the amount of dollars sent in and subtract that from the total of Montanans and have a number to believe in. The Pool here at the Shop says you wouldn't have enough to make it out of State Sen . When you head out towards Haight Ashbury don't look back...
  2. mttrailboss
    Report Abuse
    mttrailboss - September 21, 2010 4:23 pm
    I am not gay.., however, I have a lot of friends that are. They don't give me any trouble and I don't give them any trouble. Someone should call Denny Rehberg on the carpet and ask why the Montana GOP is so far behind the times and making the state of Montana look bad on all of the news media television stations and websites. Putting the Montana GOP behind times, is putting it mildly or out of touch with the majority, including voters.
  3. Buckminster
    Report Abuse
    Buckminster - September 21, 2010 10:37 am
    Grand Old Party my my.
  4. YAFM
    Report Abuse
    YAFM - September 20, 2010 10:42 pm
    I am amazed at how blind and stupid everyone is to what is really going on here. Democrates and liberals are dying faster than Europe and the plague so they focus on an archaic point of GOP policy and act like it is all that the GOP is striving for. Yes, the archaic provision should be taken out, but this is all just a red herring, yet in the liberal run newspapers it is the front page. PATHETIC. Keep ignoring the upset taxpayers and massive changes that are going on in our country and keep dedicating headline after headline to 2% of the population.
  5. butteblows
    Report Abuse
    butteblows - September 20, 2010 9:23 pm
    I happen to agree with the GOP and I would like to go back to the good old days. No more interracial marriage! No more womens' suffrage! Bring back slavery! And while we're at it back to only allowing landowning white males to vote! The less rights people have the easier they are to manage!
  6. yowiman
    Report Abuse
    yowiman - September 20, 2010 3:21 pm
    Funny how fast this story disappeared from the wesite?
  7. yowiman
    Report Abuse
    yowiman - September 20, 2010 12:11 pm
    Way to go MT GOP! This story is making the national news, but unfortunately making MT look more like Montucky. :^(
  8. sillyrabbit
    Report Abuse
    sillyrabbit - September 19, 2010 8:56 pm
    Wow dwiseriver, you totally confirmed to everyone reading these comments what a bunch of ignoramus morons people like you are. If you are going to attack people on here, then you really should do a spell check or at least reread what you wrote down. Now you just look like an even bigger idiot.
  9. dwiseriver
    Report Abuse
    dwiseriver - September 19, 2010 2:28 pm
    Homosexuality is a perversion and costly to families and society as a hole. The majaroty of citizens would like for you folks to knock it off. Your tactics of getting your way is abusive which includes name calling, bullying and dishonesty. Your behaviour is immoral and does not reflect the desires of normal people.
    More folks need to express thier true opinions and put a stop towards this immoral movement of sodomites. I am in full support of any person who are against homosexual behaviour. Complain all you want, I will support the GOP or Tea Party.
  10. capnbutch
    Report Abuse
    capnbutch - September 19, 2010 1:07 pm
    John Blake seems to be badmouthing people he does not know. He characterizes them in genuinely mean and mistaken ways.

    Just as the homosexual community asks for kindness and understanding, the rest of us deserve that as well.

    Certainly there are problems but we'll never get them ironed out without face-to-face meetings. Only after that can the issue of lying about Republicans be fairly addressed.

    If you get to know your enemy you will get to know that you have no enemy.
  11. Gypsy
    Report Abuse
    Gypsy - September 19, 2010 12:51 pm
    I wonder if the GOP of Montana (and probably the nation as well), is hoping to get some much-needed pork barrel funding from big government in order to hire all the needed bedroom police? Or, maybe they will look to Rupert Murdoch and the Wall Street Journal and FOX News for grant monies to hire these needed cops? The GOP also better go after all school textbooks related to science--afterall, it is that dastardly biological science behind all the births of homosexuals--and lets not forget, it's also that non-sensical science behind global warming. I think Montana needs to erect a monument to the wishes of Ted Ravndal and his Tea Party cohorts.
  12. TMH
    Report Abuse
    TMH - September 19, 2010 10:32 am
    Why is the media NOT asking Rehberg where he stands on this issue, after all he joined the Tea Party Caucus in the House.

    The media should be asking his if he supports:
    Illegalizing acts of Gay?
    Eliminating or Privitizing Social Security?
    Eliminating the Dept. of Education?
    Eliminating the EPA?
    Defunding the Government?
    Pre-emptively attacking Iran?
    Allowing private businesses to discriminate?
    Allowing Corporations to Pay NO TAXES?
    Having the House investigate if Obama is a muslim?
    Having the House investigate if Obama was born in Kenya?
    Making a woman have their rapists or incest babies?

    These are all views expressed by this years crop of GOP Candidates. It is important for the people of Montana to know where OUR Congressman stands on all these issues.

    Please media ask the questions and report to the people.
  13. wildinmontana
    Report Abuse
    wildinmontana - September 19, 2010 8:29 am

    GOP: Go after child molesters and drunk drivers. The extremely old news is that you cannot legislate who people love.
  14. RBT
    Report Abuse
    RBT - September 19, 2010 8:02 am
    So the party of "small government" wants the government in our bedrooms to make sure we don't have the wrong sort of sex.

    If crazy right-wingers, like that woman running for senate in Delaware (and Denny Rehberg), gain control, the government will not only be very interested in what homosexuals do but what people do when they're alone.

    If you get my drift.

    The Republican Party has become way too extreme for our country. They constitute an actual threat to our liberty.
  15. ShelleyW
    Report Abuse
    ShelleyW - September 19, 2010 7:03 am
    This is more evidence that the GOP base is waging warfare against people who don't think, believe, look, or behave exactly like themselves. They apparently have a deep seated need to oppress others. It is repulsive to codify hatred and discrimination into a party platform.
  16. rexl
    Report Abuse
    rexl - September 19, 2010 12:48 am
    Time for the GOP to come out of the closet.

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