Saturday, April 23, 2011

ACLU Loses: MT Marriage Amendment Holds

A District Judge in Helena has ruled against the American Civil Liberties Union in a case questioning whether Montana fails to provide full legal protection for same-sex couples.

-- From "MT judge rules against couples in same-sex rights case" by Dennis Bragg & Melissa Anderson, KXLH-TV9 (Helena, MT) 4/21/11

The ACLU filed the case last summer on behalf of seven couples from several Montana cities, representing 14 gay men and lesbian women who are involved in what the agency called "committed, intimate, same-sex relationships" and raising children.

The ACLU claimed the state offers "numerous protections, rights and benefits" to "different-sex" couples that aren't available to same-sex couples.

Montana's Constitution doesn't recognize same-sex marriage and state law doesn't provide other provisions like "domestic partnerships" available in some other states.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Montana judge rejects gay couple rights suit" by The Associated Press 4/21/11

The gay couples weren't asking for the right in the lawsuit to marry, which the Montana Constitutional defines as between a man and a woman. Rather they wanted to be able to make burial, health care and other decisions, while enjoying such benefits as jointly filing taxes.

The attorney general's office has countered in court that Montana can't extend spousal benefits to gay couples because those benefits are limited to married couples by definition since Montana voters in 2004 approved the marriage amendment.

The state argued in court that the Legislature is free to create a new, separate class for couples regardless of sexual orientation. It argued such a policy choice should be made by the state, and not the courts.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Montana Family Foundation praises ruling favoring traditional marriage" by David Jay, KTVQ-TV2 (Billings, MT) 4/21/11

In his ruling, District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock dismissed the case. He stated he can not instruct the legislature to pass laws to give same sex couples the same rights as married couples.

"This court can not grant the relief that the Plantiffs seek," Sherlock wrote. "To do would violate the constitutional separation of powers existing in the state of Montanan."

On its website, the ACLU says it has not decided if it will appeal, but it disagrees with the decision.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.