gay marriage

Josh Burnham

Bozeman's Stacey Haugland never thought she'd live to see the day when gay marriage would be legalized nationwide. The Supreme Court today guaranteed that right.

The Supreme Court will soon rule on whether states can ban same-sex marriage. Their decision could come as early as Thursday the 25th. This graphic shows how three possible outcomes would affect the laws in Montana and across the country.

During this week's Capitol Talk, Sally, Chuck and Mike look forward to what's sure to be a heated debate in the House over Republican Sen. Edward Buttrey's Medicaid bill to expand coverage to the working poor.

They also discuss Republican Rep. Duane Ankney's dark money bill as it takes a step closer the Gov. Bullock's desk.

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.

courtesy of Linda Gryczan

Linda Gryczan served as lead plaintiff in a 1993 legal challenge to Montana's deviate sexual conduct statute, which made gay sex between consenting adults a crime.

News Roundup, Week 4 At The Montana Legislature

Feb 2, 2015
William Marcus

In the middle of the fourth week of the 64th Montana Legislature, Gov. Steve Bullock took the rostrum in the House of Representatives with a big smile.

“The state of our state is strong,” Bullock said, beginning his State of the State address.

Bullock touted his fiscal discipline and pushed his big legislative priorities, getting multiple standing ovations from Democrats and occasional claps from a few Republicans.

Josh Burnham

This morning the Montana Legislature hosted another round of the seemingly endless debate over legalizing same-sex marriage.

Flickr user Archie McPhee (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Now that a federal judge has struck down Montana’s ban on gay marriage, questions remain about how that affects businesses who object to same-sex marriage for religious or other reasons.

University of Montana Law Professor Anthony Johnstone says civil rights laws that prevent businesses from discriminating against customers don’t include protections for sexual orientation.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox’s appeal of the federal court order striking down the state’s gay marriage ban is due by February 27.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court Appeals will hear the case, and has already ruled similar bans are unconstitutional.

University of Montana Law Professor Anthony Johnstone says Wednesdays’ ruling striking down the gay marriage ban here won’t be final until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue.

Newscast 11-21-14

Nov 21, 2014

 Same-sex Marriage Appeal

A deadline’s been set for opening arguments against the court order striking down Montana’s gay marriage ban. State Attorney General Tim Fox says its his duty to uphold Montana’s constitution. The gay marriage ban is a constitutional amendment.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals has given Fox until February 27 to submit his arguments for why the law does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

Open Meeting Laws

Missoula Couple Among First Same Sex Licensees

Nov 20, 2014
Eric Whitney

Serena Early and Leslie Burgess spoke with MTPR News Director Eric Whitney this morning as they waited for one of Montana's first same sex marriage licenses.

Courtesy ACLU of Montana

For certain Montana residents today will be one of those days when they remember where they were when they heard the news. Sue Hawthorne was out shopping with her sister when, as she puts it, her phone started ‘exploding’ with calls and texts from friends. Federal Judge Brian Morris had ruled in a lawsuit in which Hawthorne was a plaintiff. Her marriage to Adel Johnson of Helena, performed in Washington state several months ago, was now legally recognized in Montana:

Josh Burnham

A federal judge today struck down Montana’s ban on gay marriage. Attorney General Tim Fox says he’ll appeal.

Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls ruled that Montana’s law violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

The law was challenged by four couples represented by the ACLU of Montana.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Montana, in September ruled similar gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada unconstitutional. But conflicting decisions remain in other federal courts, and the U.S. Supreme court has not issued a final word.

The ACLU of Montana says a federal judge in Great Falls should rule in favor of gay marriage, without taking their lawsuit to trial.

The group filed suit to overturn Montana’s gay marriage ban in April, on behalf of four same sex couples,
some were married in other states, others are trying to get married in Montana.

Today they asked U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris to rule in their favor without a trial, since the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over Montana struck down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada on October seventh.

He's been called "the country's most influential conservative Christian thinker" and he'll be speaking in Missoula this week as part of the President's lecture series at the University of Montana. Robert P. George is a Princeton University professor, author and chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He's also past chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, one of the groups opposing the legalization of same sex marriage.