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The state of Montana has recognized same-sex marriage since a federal court ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on November 19, 2014. Montana is now the 34th state to recognize same-sex marriage.
On November 2, 2004, Montana voters approved Initiative 96, a state initiated constitutional amendment that prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriage, as well as anything "identical or substantially similar to marital status" in the state of Montana.
Rolando v. Fox Edit
Four same-sex couples represented by the ACLU and local attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court in Great Falls on May 21, 2014, challenging the Montana Constitution's definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and related statutes. The plaintiffs in the suit, Rolando v. Fox', include three couples (Shauna and Nicole Goubeaux, Ben Milano and Chase Weinhandl, Sue Hawthorne and Adel Johnson) who married in Hawaii, Iowa, and Washington state. A fourth couple, Angela and Tonya Rolando, were denied a marriage license by the Cascade County Clerk of Court. Governor Steve Bullock has expressed support for the plaintiffs. Attorney General Timothy C. Fox is defending the state. On October 15, citing the recent decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Latta v. Otter, which ended bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada, they asked the court for summary judgment. Their brief compared the texts of Montana's ban with those of Idaho and Nevada and used the Latta decision to counter the state's arguments. Judge Brian Morris ruled for the plaintiffs on November 19, 2014, and his injunction against the state's enforcement of its ban on same-sex marriage took effect immediately. Attorney General Fox announced plans to appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Donaldson v. State of Montana Edit
In July 2010, seven same-sex couples in Montana filed a lawsuit against the state. The suit contends that even with the ban on same-sex marriage, the state constitution's guarantees of privacy, dignity, and the pursuit of life's basic necessities and its guarantees of equal protection and due process require the state to offer same-sex couples the same rights and protections it offers to different-sex couples through marriage. A state District Court heard arguments in January 2011 in the case, Donaldson v. State of Montana. The city of Bozeman backed their suit. The Court ruled against the plaintiffs on April 19, 2011, and the plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) appealed that decision to the Montana Supreme Court on August 4, arguing that the marriage amendment does not preclude providing rights other than the name "marriage" to same-sex couples. On December 17, 2012, that court in a 4-3 decision denied the plaintiffs request to find Montana's entire "statutory scheme" unconstitutional, but invited them to renew their suit in District Court by specifying the statutes they are challenging.
See also Edit
- Montana Initiative 96 (2004)
- Civil union in the United States
- Domestic partnership in the United States
Same-sex unions in the United States
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- ↑ State Laws Prohibiting Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships
- ↑ 40-1-103. Formalities.
- ↑ 40-1-401. Prohibited marriages -- contracts.
- ↑ CNN: Election 2004 - Ballot Measures, accessed April 7, 2011.
- ↑ King, Jon. "Lawsuit Filed to End Montana Defenition of Marriage, Governor Bullock Applauds", KGVO, May 21, 2014. Retrieved on October 15, 2014.
- ↑ "Montana judge asked to decide on gay marriage", Billings Gazette, October 15, 2014. Retrieved on October 15, 2014.
- ↑ "Judge strikes down Montana ban on same-sex marriage", Washington Blade, November 19, 2014. Retrieved on November 19, 2014.
- ↑ Garcia, Michelle (2010-07-22). Gay Montana Couples Sue State. Advocate.com. Retrieved on 2010-07-23.
- ↑ Billings Gazette: "Gay couples argue for same rights as wedded people," January 25, 2011, accessed April 14, 2011
- ↑ KTVM: "Bozeman Commission Backs Same-Sex Couples," September 27, 2010, accessed April 14, 2011
- ↑ Independent Record (Helena): Matt Gouras, "Judge rules against gay couples seeking rights," April 21, 2011, accessed April 21, 2011
- ↑ KTVM.com: Lauren Maschmedt, "ACLU Takes Same-Sex Case To State Supreme Court," August 4, 2011, accessed August 4, 2011
- ↑ Geidner, Chris. "Montana Supreme Court Rejects Broad Equal Benefits Claim By Gay Couples", December 17, 2012. Retrieved on December 17, 2012.
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