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ACLU appeals case on same-sex couples’ rights to Montana Supreme Court

Friday, August 5, 2011
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The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday appealed a Montana District Court decision dismissing the same-sex domestic partnership case, Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana, to the Montana Supreme Court.

ACLU

Plaintiffs in Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana

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, and 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.

On April 19, District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock’s ruled: “…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.”

The Montana Constitution guarantees that all people, including gay and lesbian couples, should be treated equally and fairly, the ACLU said.

This case presents fundamental issues of privacy and equal protection that need to be resolved by Montana’s highest court.

“The couples we represent knew there might be some bumps along the way, but they are committed to seeing this case through so that they and all same-sex couples and their families can get the protections they need but are currently denied to them in Montana,” said ACLU of Montana Legal Director Betsy Griffing.

“Our constitution requires that the state treat couples in committed relationships fairly and equally regardless of whether they are same-sex or different-sex couples.”

via: ACLU

A recent poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for the American Civil Liberties Union, found that 53 percent of Montana voters favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into domestic partnerships which include the same rights given to married couples. Only 40 percent oppose such partnerships.

Recently released 2010 U.S. Census numbers show 2,295 Montana same-sex households –- a 54 percent jump since 2000. All are at risk without the legal protection of domestic partnerships.

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