Category Archive : News

At 18, Gay Sex Got Him 7 Years in Prison. Montana Made him Register as a Sexual Offender Until This Week — though Sodomy Laws Were Tossed 17 Years Ago

gay sex

gay sex

A Montana man will not be forced to register as a sex offender in relation to a 1994 conviction under sodomy laws ruled unconstitutional in 2003 for having consensual gay sex with two 16-year-old boys, per a federal judge.

In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen ruled that the state’s requirement that Menges remain on the sex offender registry was unconstitutional and that LGBTQ people engaging in consensual sexual activity do not pose a threat to public safety.

“Montana has no rational basis for forcing Menges to register as a sexual offender on the basis of a 1994 Idaho conviction for engaging in oral or anal sex with a 16-year old male when he was 18, but not forcing those to register as a sexual offender who were convicted in Idaho in 1994 at the age of 18 for engaging in vaginal sex with a 16-year old female,” Christensen said in his ruling.

Randall Menges, 45, was 18 years old and living in Idaho in 1994 when he was convicted for having gay sex under Idaho’s Crimes Against Nature law. The statute, like other sodomy laws, criminalizes consensual anal and oral sex and historically have been used to indirectly criminalize LGBTQ communities. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas that sodomy laws were unconstitutional.

Menges served seven years in prison with additional probation time and was forced to register as a sex offender in Idaho. That requirement continued when he moved to Montana roughly a decade after his conviction. Despite repealing its sodomy laws in 2013, Montana still required those with sodomy convictions in a state that required them to register as sex offenders to do the same in Montana.

The Montana Attorney General’s Office filed an appeal shortly after Christensen’s ruling.

“This order weakens our state’s sex offender registry law and opens it up to more attacks from out-of-state lawyers who are more interested in politics than the safety of Montana children,” Montana Attorney General Office press secretary Emilee Cantrell told The Missoulian.

“I’m grateful to the court for putting an end to my nightmare,” Menges told The Missoulian following the decision. “It is unconscionable that in 2021, Montana would still put people convicted of having gay sex on the sex offender registry,” said Matthew Strugar, one of Menges’ attorneys. “This kind of overt, state-sanctioned homophobia would have been surprising 30 years ago. Today, it is shocking and it is unconstitutional.”

The Montana Attorney General’s Office, which served as the defendant in Menges’ lawsuit, opposed Menges’ request throughout the case, citing the statute honoring the requirement to register practices in other states with sodomy laws still on the books. The Montana Attorney General’s Office filed an appeal shortly after Christensen’s ruling.

“This order weakens our state’s sex offender registry law and opens it up to more attacks from out-of-state lawyers who are more interested in politics than the safety of Montana children,” Montana Attorney General Office press secretary Emilee Cantrell told The Missoulian.

Menges’ fight doesn’t end with Tuesday’s ruling or the subsequent appeal. The Butte, Mont. citizen is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of Idaho’s Crimes Against Nature law. Strugar and the American Civil Liberties Union are part of that lawsuit as well.

Gay Sex Previously on Towleroad

Screenshot of photo by Tom Bauer/The Missoulian

Read More Towleroad Gay News

U.S. House Approves National Pulse Shooting Memorial Bill, Heads to Senate; ‘We Owe It to Those We Lost’

Pulse shooting

pulse shooting

A bill that would designate Orlando, FL’s Pulse nightclub, the site a 2016 mass shooting that left 49 people dead and the LGBTQ community in shock and sadness, as a national memorial won approval in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday.

“Orlando Strong is more than just a slogan, it is a promise to support each other and to never forget those we lost and those who were injured on that tragic night. By establishing Pulse as a national memorial, we will honor their memories and remind ourselves of that promise,” said Rep. Val Demings.

Demings co-sponsored HR 49 alongside fellow Florida Representatives Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy. Flanked by photos of the 49 victims, Demings continued, “My bishop once called the Pulse nightclub a place for late night fellowship, a place for fun, laughter, family, and friendship. These are such fundamental things. We know this now more than ever after the pandemic. We see just how precious these things truly are.”

“This horrific act of hate and terror against our LGBTQ and Latino community and African community and Anglo community could have divided us, but we came together stronger than ever before. Orlando swore as a community to never forget those we lost that night,” Soto said. He believes that making the nightclub that still draws LGBTQ people wishing to pay their respects “would honor the 49 lives taken on June 12, 2016 as well as the survivors, the first responders who so heroically came to the rescue of so many others and the entire central Florida community.”

Though the shooting was later revealed not to be motivated by anti-LGBTQ sentiment, the Pulse shooting has remained a significant event that continues to rally, inspire and motivate continued LGBTQ advocacy.

The bill, HR 49, would make Pulse nightclub a “non-affiliated” national memorial, meaning it wouldn’t be owned and operated by the National Park Service and wouldn’t require federal funds. Instead, the memorial would be operated independently by the onePULSE Foundation, a nonprofit led by Pulse owner Barbara Poma whose goal is to establish a National Pulse Memorial & Museum.

While memorializing the 49 victims and 53 wounded during the shooting is widely supported, the onePULSE Foundation has been rife with criticism from survivors and families of victims, with much of the focus placed on Poma herself. Poma’s decision to not sell the property housing the nightclub to the city of Orlando and spearhead the establishment of a memorial and museum through her own nonprofit drew accusations that Poma was monetizing the tragedy. A 2019 audit of onePULSE’s finances revealed that Poma’s yearly salary as CEO of onePULSE amounted to $150,000.

The proposed design of the museum, a towering spiral structure that resembles a nuclear reactor, has also met with detractors saying its design is too grandiose.

Pulse Museum Concept Design

Some of those opposing Poma’s plan formed the Community Coalition Against a Pulse Museum (CCAPM) to advocate against onePULSE. CCAPM proposes that “a public memorial park that does not seek to capitalize on the mass shooting in any way” be built to honor the 49 lives lost and that the money onePULSE raises “go to the continued care of survivors.”

A collection of survivors and victim’s family members sued Poma and her husband, Rosario Poma, alleging that insufficient security, illegal construction and code violations impeded patrons from fleeing the club during the shooting.

The introduction of HR 49 on Wednesday isn’t the first time the federal government has tried to memorialize one of the worst acts of terror against the LGBTQ community in the nation’s history. A similar bill passed a House vote last year but gained no traction in the Senate after neither Senator from Florida offered support. That doesn’t appear to be the case this time around, though. According to Florida Politics, Sen. Rick Scott, who was Governor of Florida when the Pulse shooting occurred, plans to introduce similar legislation to the Senate as soon as this week.

Barring any hangups in the Senate, the final approval of the Pulse nightclub memorialization effort could line up with the fifth anniversary of the shooting on June 12.

“We owe it to those we lost, to honor their memories by dedicating a national memorial at Pulse. A memorial that reflects the same love, acceptance, and spirit of community that embodied the victims and that embodies the LGBTQ community at large,” Murphy said. “By taking this important step America is telling the world that we will never let hate win, that we won’t forget the victims, and that we will fight to ensure no community will ever go through something like this again.”

Photo courtesy of Dannel Malloy/Creative Commons

Read More Towleroad Gay News

Is climate change an LGBTQ issue? Let’s find out on this week’s podcast.Is climate change an LGBTQ issue? Let’s find out on this week’s podcast.

ShutterstockOn this week’s episode, host Alex Berg leads a discussion on how queer and trans folks are disproportionately affected by climate change and what we can do to solve it. Read More LGBTQ Nation

Two trans women of color murdered on same day as wave of violence continuesTwo trans women of color murdered on same day as wave of violence continues

CompositeAt least 24 trans or non-binary people have been violently killed so far this year. Read More LGBTQ Nation

Out lawmaker & marriage activist Mark Levine is running for Virginia Lieutenant GovernorOut lawmaker & marriage activist Mark Levine is running for Virginia Lieutenant Governor

Mark Levine campaign website“I’m always fired up. There’s a lot of injustice in the world. I’ve got a lot to do.” Read More LGBTQ Nation

Grimes was hospitalised for a panic attack after her surprise SNL stint

Grimes has revealed that she was hospitalised for a panic attack after her surprise cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live. The Canadian singer, who has been in a relationship with Elon Musk since 2018, appeared alongside the Tesla CEO during last week’s episode of SNL. Grimes made a cameo appearance as Princess Peach for a … Continued
The post Grimes was hospitalised for a panic attack after her surprise SNL stint appeared first on PinkNews – Gay news, reviews and comment from the world’s most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service. Read More PinkNews – Gay news, reviews and comment from the world’s most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service

American Idol finalist still wants ‘respect’ after appearing in KKK-themed video

Caleb Kennedy has been cut from American Idol after a video surfaced showing him sitting next to someone wearing a white hood reminiscent of those worn by the Ku Klux Klan. Kennedy’s departure was confirmed by a source close to American Idol who told PEOPLE the episode on Sunday (16 May) “will feature the top … Continued
The post American Idol finalist still wants ‘respect’ after appearing in KKK-themed video appeared first on PinkNews – Gay news, reviews and comment from the world’s most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service. Read More PinkNews – Gay news, reviews and comment from the world’s most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service

Ben Platt thinks we should ‘do everything in our power’ to give queer roles to queer actors

Dear Evan Hansen‘s Ben Platt says the entertainment industry should be “doing everything in our power” to cast LGBT+ actors for queer roles. The out actor and musician said in an interview with NME that he was looking forward to his upcoming role in the comedy The People We Hate at the Wedding because “it’s … Continued
The post Ben Platt thinks we should ‘do everything in our power’ to give queer roles to queer actors appeared first on PinkNews – Gay news, reviews and comment from the world’s most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service. Read More PinkNews – Gay news, reviews and comment from the world’s most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service

FX's Pride Docuseries to Tell 60+ Years of LGBTQ+ History, Rights

Pride docuseres

“There’s more history in this culture than what they offer to us when we go to school and when we go through our history books,” Pride showrunner and executive producer Alex Stapleton says.

Read More Out.com

Here's Exactly What Elite Week From Netflix's 'Elite' Is — Plus, a First Look

Read More Out.com