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Montana judge dismisses suit by gay couples seeking legal protections

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A District Court Judge in Montana has ruled to dismiss a case brought by gay couples who were seeking the same legal protections as married couples.

Plaintiffs in Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana (via ACLU)

The suit, filed in July 2010 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of seven gay couples in Montana, said the state failed to offer legal protections to same-sex couples and their families.

The ACLU asked the First Judicial Court in January to recognize same-sex couples as domestic partnerships in Montana to guarantee protection of their rights.

Judge Jeffrey Sherlock’s ruling, filed April 19, states: “…in spite of this Court’s sympathy for the plight of the Plaintiffs this court finds that the state’s motion to dismiss should be granted.”

“This court finds that to be an inappropriate exercise of this Court’s power. Primarily it would violate the separation of powers contained in the Montana Constitution.”

The suit, Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana, claimed that same sex couples are being denied their rights of privacy, dignity and the pursuit of life’s basic necessities as provided for in the Montana Constitution.

Because there is a constitutional amendment in Montana barring same-sex marriage, the couples in the lawsuit are seeking the protection of state-recognized domestic partnerships, similar to those in place in several other states.

The state Attorney General’s office argued in the case that the marriage amendment binds the court and is now included in the state constitution.

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Filed under: Montana

10 more reader comments:

  1. Totally dislike!

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:03pm
  2. dislike

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:05pm
  3. Hey Montana!! Get a clue!

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:05pm
  4. Gay couples need legal protection across the USA!

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:08pm
  5. wtffffff

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:08pm
  6. brought to you from the state that wants to outlaw homsexuality is anyone surprised!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:09pm
  7. Why should our personal life be decided by judge. Wow

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:20pm
  8. Sorry, don’t feel too bad, I couldn’t pick up a prescription for my husband without his permission, even though he had asked me to pick it up! We have been married for 16 years and I am on his insurance- and we are straight! Ugh! I’m with you!

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:43pm
  9. Sorry, don’t feel too bad, I couldn’t pick up a prescription for my husband without his permission, even though he had asked me to pick it up! We have been married for 16 years and I am on his insurance- and we are straight! Ugh! I’m with you!

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:43pm
  10. …Probably for the best. I see how it is every day I’ve lived here. Montana just isn’t ready. And in a state with a large population of easily enraged social conservatives with easy access to guns and alcohol, it’s a good idea to wait. I’d rather not have to see another crusade like they had with the buffalo altercation.

    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 7:01pm