Marriage Equality USA

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State of Montana
All in this Region

Current Status


HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

  • Montana's hate crimes statute does not cover violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Montana has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 2005.
  • As of 2013,  both the City of Missoula and Missoula County have domestic partnership registries.
  • Sodomy was not decriminalized until 2013.
  • The city of Missoula was one of 25 municipalities to receive a perfect 100 score from the Human Rights Campaign in its 2013 Municipal Equality Index. And, Missoula shows up on Facebook as a hotbed of LGBTQ activism.
  • Marriage equality was banned by a 1997 statute and a 2004 constitutional ban, Montana Initiative 96 from 1997 until 2014.
  • 19 November 2014, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris struck down Montana's ban on marriage equality. His ruling went into effect immediately.

Legislation - Pending

None.

Legislation - Enacted

None.

Lawsuits - Pending

Rolando v. Fox

Case #: 14-35987 (9th Circuit); 4:14-cv-00040 (Federal District Court)
Court Level: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Filed: 21 May 2014
Date of Appeal: 19 November 2014

Description:

  • The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of on behalf of four same-sex couples, some seeking to marry and some seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriages.
  • The Governor announced that he will not defend the state ban on marriage equality, although the state Attorney General is doing so.
  • 17 July 2014, the defendants filed their response.
  • 15 October 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Summary Judgement, a brief in support of the motion, and a Statement of Undisputed Facts in support of the motion.
  • 20 October 2014, Judge Morris has set a hearing on November 20 at 1:30 p.m. in Great Falls on Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment. The notice is a text-only entry on the docket: "Text ORDER Setting Hearing on Motion 35 MOTION for Summary Judgment : Motion Hearing set for 11/20/2014 at 01:30 PM in Great Falls, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 10/20/2014. (SLL, ) (Entered: 10/20/2014)"
  • 13 November 2014, the November 20th hearing was canceled by Judge Morris via a docket text order. "TEXT ORDER Vacating Hearing on Motion 35 MOTION for Summary Judgment : Motion Hearing set for 11/20/2014 at 01:30 PM is Vacated. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 11/13/2014. (SLL, ) (Entered: 2014-11-13) (Entered: 11/13/2014)"
  • 19 November 2014, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris struck down Montana's ban on marriage equality. His ruling takes effect IMMEDIATELY! Woot! MT has marriage!
  • 19 November 2014, from Judge strikes down Montana ban on same-sex marriage - By Chris Johnson, Washington Blade Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, a Republican who was defending the state’s marriage law, vowed in a statement shortly after the decision was handed down to appeal. “It is the attorney general’s sworn duty to uphold and defend Montana’s constitution until such time as there is no further review or no appeal can be made in a court of law,” Fox said. “Fulfilling that duty, the state of Montana will appeal this ruling in light of the fact that there are conflicting federal court decisions and no final word from the U.S. Supreme Court.”
    Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, on the other hand hailed the decision, saying his administration would work to implement it as quickly as possible. “Today’s decision ensures we are closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom, dignity, and equality for all Montanans,” Bullock said. “It is a day to celebrate our progress, while recognizing the qualities that bind us as Montanans: a desire to make a good life for ourselves and our families, while providing greater opportunities to the next generation.”
  • 19 November 2014, Montana Attorney General Timothy Fox immediately filed a notice of appeal to the 9th Circuit.
  • 6 February 2015, the defendants filed an unopposed motion to stay the proceedings in the 9th Circuit pending resolution of the U.S. Supreme Court marriage cases.
  • 9 February 2015, the state's unopposed motion to put the appeal on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the marriage cases has been granted.
Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana

Case #: BDV-2010-702
Court Level: Montana Supreme Court
Date Filed: 22 July 2010
Date of Appeal: 13 November 2011

Description:

  • The ACLU filed a lawsuit, on behalf of seven couples, against the state of Montana for failing to provide legal protections to same-sex couples and their families in violation of the Montana Constitution's rights of privacy, dignity and the pursuit of life's basic necessities and its guarantees of equal protection and due process.
  • The goal of this lawsuit is ensure that same-sex couples are able to protect their families with the same kind of legal protections that opposite-sex couples are offered through marriage.
  • The Montana Supreme Court granted, in part, the appeal to secure domestic partnership protections. Though the court denied the plaintiffs’ initial appeal as too broad, the justices allowed the ACLU to move forward with more narrowly tailored efforts to secure equal treatment for same-sex couples in the state.
  • 15 July 2013, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint.

Lawsuits - Resolved

None.

Ballot Initiatives - Pending

None.

Ballot Initiatives - Passed

None.

Polls

  • On 24 October 2013, Montana State University surveyed 410 adult residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 46% support, 42% oppose, and 11% are undecided.