Legislative Activity Percolates Across The Nation
April 23, 1999 (excerpt)
The following updates are part of the Blade's continuing coverage of bills in state
legislatures around the country:
MISSOURI: A bill to expand the state's sodomy laws passed the House on
April 7 by a vote of 139 to 6. It is currently in committee in the Senate. The bill would
expand several types of sex crimes to include sexual acts involving contact between a
person's genitals and another person's hand. Meanwhile, bills to repeal the portion of the
state's sodomy law that bans "deviate sexual intercourse with a partner of the same
sex" and to ban bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity remain inactive.
A bill seeking to add sex, sexual orientation, and disability to the list of groups
included in the state's 1998 hate crime law passed the Senate April 20 by a vote of 20-14.
The bill's definition of sexual orientation includes "having a self-image or identity
not traditionally associated with one's biological maleness or femaleness." Jeff
Wunrow of the Privacy Rights Education Project said the bill's passage marked the first
time either chamber or the state legislature had passed a pro-Gay law. The bill will die
if it does not pass the House by the May 14 close of legislative session. A bill to
reinstate the state's law banning recognition of same-sex marriages passed the Senate on
March 1 and is now rocketing through the House. Wunrow said he expects the bill to
ultimately pass the House without fanfare. The original law, passed in 1996, was thrown
out by a state court along with a host of laws passed that session because of a procedural
violation of the state constitution.
-- Kai Wright, Rhonda Smith, and Bill Roundy
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