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Judge in Montana to rule on same-sex marriage ban without formal hearing

Judge in Montana to rule on same-sex marriage ban without formal hearing

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A federal judge has vacated a hearing scheduled for next week in Great Falls to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging Montana’s ban on same-sex marriage.

MontanaThe four gay couples who sued to overturn the ban along with Attorney General Tim Fox, who is defending the ban, agreed that U.S. District Judge Brian Morris has enough information to decide the case without the formal hearing that had been scheduled next Thursday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down similar gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana expects a favorable ruling because the 9th Circuit includes Montana.

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

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

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