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Montana House Dumps Bill to Protect Gays

While the Brits are ready to dole out Civil Partnerships to gays, back across the pond, we’ve got a U.S. state that won’t even extend hate crimes laws to its gay citizens. And we have some novel, Am Taliban reasoning for the rejection too. (AP):

The Montana House on Monday killed a bill that would have extended the state’s hate crimes law to protect gays. The bill would have made it a crime to target people based such factors as age, economic condition, disability, gender or sexual orientation. It was rejected 54-46.

State law already outlaws intimidating or harassing someone because of race, religion, color, creed or national origin. Offenses carry a minimum two-year prison term. Debate focused mainly on whether the law should cover crimes against gays and lesbians.

Republicans, who accounted for all but five of the opponents, warned the bill would stifle free speech and could prevent clergy from speaking out against homosexuality in their sermons. Supporters said the bill aimed to protect people who could be targeted because they belonged to a certain group.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding