Last edited: December 31, 2004

Montana Justice Dept. Seeks to End Gay Sodomy Suit

Baltimore City Paper, c1995

Helena, MT - The state Justice Department has asked a district judge to dismiss a suit challenging Montana's deviate sexual conduct law, saying the six gay people have no legal standing to sue.

The six filed suit in December, contending the law that makes consensual homosexual sex a felony is unconstitutional invasion of privacy.

But Solicitor Clay Smith said that because none of the six has been charged with breaking the law, they have no standing to file the suit.

"A glaring omission for the complaint's allegations is any indication that the plaintiffs have been threatened with prosecution, much less actually prosecuted..., or that their employment, housing or child custody rights have been affected by the statute," Smith said.

The dismissal motion was filed with District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock, who is hearing the case. There was no immediate indication on when Sherlock might rule on the motion.

The six plaintiffs argued that the Montana law encourages discrimination and violence. Diane Sands, co-chairman of the gay rights group PRIDE Inc., called the law "an affront to the dignity, privacy, and humanity of Montana's gay and lesbian citizens."

Daszkiewicz said the penalty is the most severe in the United States for consensual gay sex between adults.

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