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HELENA — A Senate panel agrees it's time to remove an obsolete anti-gay law from the books.

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed on a 7-5 vote a bill that removes from the books a Montana law declaring homosexual acts illegal, sending the proposal to the full Senate. The obsolete language remains in the code even though the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1997.

Two Republicans sided with Democrats on the issue even though the Montana GOP's official platform still supports the law.

A different legislative committee on Friday took testimony on two opposing gay rights bills.

Gay rights advocates were pushing to expand discrimination protection statewide, while conservative religious groups want the lawmakers to repeal Missoula's local ordinance establishing extra protections for gays and others.

 

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