Montana

STATUS:

Anti-marriage constitutional amendment: the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of the freedom to marry on October 7. This ruling is now binding throughout the Circuit, meaning that it is likely that soon same-sex couples will have the freedom to marry in Montana.

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

On October 7, the United States Court of Appeals in the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in cases from Nevada and Idaho. Because Montana is in the 9th Circuit and this ruling is binding throughout the circuit, the path is paved for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Montana.

A legal case from the ACLU of Montana is pending before a federal court in the state, and a motion for summary judgment has been filed. A hearing is set for November 20. 

HISTORY:

In 2004, anti-gay forces in Montana pushed through Initiative 96, a constitutional amendment that excluded same-sex couples from marriage. 

In 2009, a domestic partnership bill was proposed in the state legislature, but it was unsuccessful. In July 2010, seven same-sex couples from Montana filed a lawsuit seeking full partnership protections in the state.

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • The ACLU of Montana is leading a legal challenge seeking to overturn the state's constitutional amendment barring same-sex couples from marriage.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 

POLLING DATA:

A majority of voters in Montana have moved to support marriage, with 46% saying it should be legal, including 47% of independents. (Montana State University-Billings, March 2014)

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 1,348 same-sex couples are living in Montana, representing 3.3 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Blog Posts Related to Montana

Finishing the Job: how marriage is moving forward nationwide

Now, as momentum surges across the country, it is more important for supporters to do all they can to speak out for the freedom to marry nationwide. Here's what's going on in the 4 other states set up for the freedom to marry soon, plus the 15 where same-sex couples continue to be denied the freedom to marry.

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) signs on as Respect for Marriage Act co-sponsor

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9 Senate Democrats who announced their support for the freedom to marry this week

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Resources Related to Montana

Montana Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Montana.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

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