Federal judge asked to rule on Montana’s same-sex marriage ban

Jimmy Emerson

Jimmy Emerson

HELENA, Mont. — Four couples challenging Montana‘s ban on same-sex marriages have asked a federal judge to decide the issue without going to trial.

Jimmy Emerson

Jimmy Emerson

The couples, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the request Wednesday.

ACLU Montana legal director Jim Taylor says the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision to strike down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada should convince U.S. District Judge Brian Morris to rule in their favor.

Montana is part of the 9th Circuit and district judges use decisions from the appellate court as precedents for their rulings.

Voters approved the ban in 2004 as an amendment to Montana’s constitution.

Montana Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes says his office will continue to defend the constitutional amendment “until no further clear duty remains to do so.”

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