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Four Couples File Suit Challenging Montana's Ban on Gay Marriage

Mt1 Mt2

The ACLU has filed suit on behalf of four couples in Montana challenging the state's ban on gay marriage, the AP reports:

Ben_ChaseThe Montana suit was being filed in federal court in Great Falls. It lists as plaintiffs four Montana couples who are either unmarried or who were married outside the state.

The lawsuit alleges the ban denies same-sex couples the freedom and dignity afforded to other Montanans, and denies them the state and federal legal protections and benefits that come with marriage.

"We want Aden to grow up knowing that we are a family like any other family," plaintiff Shauna Goubeaux said in a statement of her and wife Nicole's 1-year-old son. "Marriage is part of being a family. By being plaintiffs in this case, we are showing him his mommies will stand up for what is right and stand up for him."

Mt3In addition to Shauna and Nicole Goubeaux, the plaintiffs are Angie and Tonya Rolando; Ben Milano and Chase Weinhandl; and Sue Hawthorne and Adel Johnson.

Read the complaint HERE.

See the ACLU's page on the lawsuit HERE.

Governor Steve Bullock released a statement in support of the lawsuit:

"Montanans cherish our freedom and recognize the individual dignity of every one of us. The time has come for our state to recognize and celebrate - not discriminate against - two people who love one another, are committed to each other, and want to spend their lives together.


Montana Anti-Gay Group Rebrands LGBT Non-Discrimination Policies as ‘Forced Participation Ordinances'

Jeremy Hooper over at Good As You points out the Montana Family Foundation’s new tactic of rebranding LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances as “Forced Participation Ordinances” in the hopes of drumming up more opposition.

MffWrites MFF:

What would Montana look like if the government could force you to say something you did not believe, or force you to participate in an activity that violates your conscience? It would forever change who we are as a people, and it’s closer to happening than you may think.

Forced Participation Ordinances (FPOs), or Non-Discrimination Ordinances (NDOs) as our opponents like to call them, supposedly ban discrimination of homosexuals, bisexuals and transvestites. FPOs have already passed in Missoula, Helena and Butte, and efforts are underway to pass them in Bozeman, Billings and Dillon, as well. 

The MFF letter goes on to state that the ordinances “trample religious freedom,” “threaten public safety” (no evidence provided) and are ultimately unnecessary:  

We need to remind government officials that there’s a big difference between true tolerance and forced participation.  True tolerance is what we have now.  In fact, Montana is so tolerant that our opponents have trouble pointing to any examples of discrimination.  The Missoula ordinance was passed three years ago and the Helena ordinance was passed nearly two years ago, and neither has been used.  Not even once.  If this becomes state law, Montana’s live-and-let-live attitude will give way to forced participation, and Christians will become targets.


Bozeman, Montana City Council Gives Initial Approval to LGBT Nondiscrimination Ordinance

The Bozeman, Montana City Council voted 4-0 to approve an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance at its meeting last night, NBC Montana reports:

BozemanBefore commissioners could vote, they listened to more than two hours of public comment from members of the community. Around 55 people took to the podium to speak on the ordinance, which would protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

People have been showing up to meetings for months to speak on the topic, but this was the second round of official public comment. The comments ranged from people who were in full support of the ordinance, to those against, and everywhere in between.

The measure was passed following some changes from the mayor regarding religious exemptions, the Helena Independent Record adds:

Commissioners exempted religious schools and corporations from the hiring requirements. They also exempted goods or facilities provided for a service that is primarily religious in nature from the public accommodations requirements.

Commissioners will need to vote one more time at an upcoming meeting before the ordinance becomes law.


Skating on Glass: VIDEO

Skating

This is just a very simple clip of people skating on a lake in Montana's Swan Valley that froze so quickly it's as transparent as glass. It might give you some peace today.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Skating on Glass: VIDEO" »


Thousands Counterprotest Westboro Baptist Church in Montana, Serve Ice Cream for Equality: VIDEO

Bozeman

Thousands of people showed up at different locations in Bozeman, Montana late last week to counterprotest the Westboro Baptist Church at Bozeman High School and Montana State University, where they were offering free ice cream for equality in an effort to show support for LGBT people.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Thousands Counterprotest Westboro Baptist Church in Montana, Serve Ice Cream for Equality: VIDEO" »


ACLU Files Suit To Overturn Montana's Ban On Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

MontanaFollowing similar suits in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana has filed an amended lawsuit against the state on behalf of seven gay couples in an attempt to win for them the same benefits that married straight couples receive. The Missoulian reports:

In the amended lawsuit, attorney James Goetz identifies numerous statues, including laws he says prevent gay couples from receiving financial protections given to police officers and spouses and from designating their partners as beneficiaries for worker's compensation.  

Other laws Goetz cites exclude gay couples from financial protections for surviving spouses, authority over end-of-life decisions, financial protections due to illness or disability and protections from the dissolution of their relationships. 

In December 2012, the Montana Supreme Court denied the ACLU's original appeal challenging every statue excluding committed same-sex couples form protections granted to straight couples. The Justices did say, however, that the ACLU could move forward with statute-specific efforts to secure equal treatment for same-sex couples in the state. 


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