By: Coridon Henshaw Re: MONTANA GAY GROUPS SQUELCH FASCIST REGISTRY @Message-Id: +lt;95040

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By: Coridon Henshaw Re: MONTANA GAY GROUPS SQUELCH FASCIST REGISTRY From: Workers World Service @Message-Id: <9504042349.AA15992@nyxfer.blythe.org> Date: Tue, 4 Apr 1995 18:49:59 -0500 (EST) Reply-To: ww@wwp.blythe.org ------------------------ Via Workers World Service Reprinted from the April 6, 1995, issue of Workers World newspaper ----------------------- MONTANA: GAY GROUPS SQUELCH FASCIST REGISTRY By Leslie Feinberg On March 22, the Montana Senate added "deviate sexual conduct" to the categories in a bill requiring registration of violent criminals. This odious phrase created the basis for a fascist plan to register any gay man or lesbian in the state who was convicted of making love. But the Senate amendment provoked an immediate storm of protest. After weathering the tempest for one day, the state senators ate their words. They voted unanimously to retract the amendment on March 23. Dazed politicians admitted that fury toward the amendment came from within the state and around the country. Gov. Marc Racicot's executive assistant called the response "substantial" and said the bulk was from Montanans opposed to discrimination. State Sen. Al Bishop had fueled further outrage when he said on the Senate floor that gay and lesbian love is "worse than violent." That afternoon, the Montana group Pride! held an angry rally outside the Capitol in Helena. In Los Angeles, gay activist David B. Mixner had already begun organizing a national boycott of Montana. Mixner says officials in Racicot's office pleaded with him to call off the economic pressure, saying the amendment had been a "horrible misunderstanding." Mixner says he replied, "Indeed it's been a horrible misunderstanding, and when it is killed, we'll stop." Characterizing the amendment as fascist is not rhetoric. The bill defined "deviate" sex as oral or anal love making between two people of the same sex. Montana is one of 22 states with "sodomy" laws that make sex between two men or two women a crime. Montana's law, passed in 1973, is currently being challenged in court. It makes homosexual acts--and only homosexual acts--a felony punishable by 10 years in prison. Under the briefly enacted amendment, any lesbian or gay man convicted of consensual sex would have been forced upon release from prison to register with the local police chief or county sheriff where they planned to live for more than 14 days. Lesbians and gay men would also have been fingerprinted and photographed. Each individual would have been listed in a state-wide police register and the information could have been made public to employers, landlords and neighbors. On Wednesday it was state law. On Thursday it was scrap paper. What a difference a day of protest against injustice makes. -30- (Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: ww@wwp.blythe.org. For subscription info send message to: ww-info@wwp.blythe.org.) --- * Origin: Jesus saves sinners and redeems them for VALUABLE PRIZES (1:250/820)

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