Judge sets November hearing in challenge to Montana gay marriage ban


HELENA, Mont. — A judge has set a Nov. 20 hearing in Great Falls for arguments in a lawsuit challenging Montana‘s ban on gay marriage.

MontanaU.S. District Judge Brian Morris scheduled the hearing Monday after four gay couples filed a motion for summary judgment that asks the judge to decide the case without a trial.

The couples are backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana.

ACLU officials have said that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to strike down similar gay-marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada should mean a favorable ruling for the Montana couples.

Montana Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes has said the U.S. Supreme Court could still take up the issue in the future, so state attorneys plan to continue to defend the state’s constitutional ban.

Montana is the only state under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit still enforcing a same-sex marriage ban.

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