Ninth Circuit sets schedule for Montana AG’s appeal of gay marriage ruling

Attorney General Tim Fox (R-Mont.)

Attorney General Tim Fox (R-Mont.) AP

BILLINGS, Mont. — Opening arguments from Montana‘s attorney general are due Feb. 27 in his appeal of a federal court order that struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Attorney General Tim Fox (R-Mont.)AP

Attorney General Tim Fox (R-Mont.)

Republican Attorney General Tim Fox has said it’s his sworn duty to uphold Montana’s Constitution, which voters amended in 2004 with a definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled Wednesday that the amendment violated the guarantee of equal protection for all citizens under the U.S. Constitution.

Although he is appealing the ruling, Fox did not seek an immediate stay to block same-sex marriages while the case is pending. Same-sex couples began marrying in Montana late Wednesday.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, said in a statement on Wednesday that his administration is taking the appropriate steps to ensure legally married same-sex couples are recognized and afforded the same rights and responsibilities of all married Montanans.

Arguments from plaintiffs represented by the ACLU of Montana are due March 30.

The case is before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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