Montana AG Asks Court to Uphold Gay Marriage Ban
HELENA, Mont. - Montana's attorney general asked a federal court Thursday to uphold the state's constitutional same-sex marriage ban in response to a lawsuit that seeks to overturn it.
Republican Attorney General Tim Fox in documents filed in federal court in Great Falls denied all the allegations brought by the four gay couples who filed the lawsuit in May. The move was not unexpected, as Fox had said previously he would vigorously defend the ban. Approved by voters in 2004, the ban says marriage is between a man and woman.
In his response, Fox asked the court to dismiss the complaint, arguing Montana's ban does not impose an unconstitutional "stigma or second-class citizenship on persons in same sex relationships."
The couples, however, allege in their lawsuit that the ban denies same-sex couples freedoms and dignity afforded to other Montanans and that it denies them legal protections and benefits that come with marriage.
The plaintiffs, several of whom were married in other states, are Shauna and Nicole Goubeaux; Angie and Tonya Rolando; Ben Milano and Chase Weinhandl; and Sue Hawthorne and Adel Johnson.
Fox also said in documents the couples have not alleged any specific harm or discrimination based on sexual orientation by him or the other defendants, which include Michael Kadas, the director of the Montana Department of Revenue and Faye McWilliams, Cascade County clerk of court.
Additionally, Fox said in documents that the plaintiffs can't state a claim based upon sex discrimination "because men and women, regardless of sexual orientation or preference, are treated the same. Neither men nor women can marry persons of the same gender."