John M. Becker

Marriage Lawsuit Filed in Montana

Filed By John M. Becker | May 21, 2014 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, lawsuit, marriage equality, Montana, North Dakota, same-sex marriage, South Dakota

Gay MontanaAttorneys from the ACLU, representing four gay couples in Montana, filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging the state's marriage discrimination amendment.

The Associated Press reports:

The Montana suit was being filed in federal court in Great Falls. It lists as plaintiffs four Montana couples who are either unmarried or who were married outside the state. The lawsuit alleges the ban denies same-sex couples the freedom and dignity afforded to other Montanans, and denies them the state and federal legal protections and benefits that come with marriage.

"We want Aden to grow up knowing that we are a family like any other family," plaintiff Shauna Goubeaux said in a statement of her and wife Nicole's 1-year-old son. "Marriage is part of being a family. By being plaintiffs in this case, we are showing him his mommies will stand up for what is right and stand up for him."

In addition to Shauna and Nicole Goubeaux, the plaintiffs are Angie and Tonya Rolando; Ben Milano and Chase Weinhandl; and Sue Hawthorne and Adel Johnson.

Steve Bullock, Montana's Democratic governor, released a statement expressing support for the couples.

"Montanans cherish our freedom and recognize the individual dignity of every one of us," it reads. "The time has come for our state to recognize and celebrate - not discriminate against - two people who love one another, are committed to each other, and want to spend their lives together."

Today's filing means that there are just two non-marriage equality states -- North and South Dakota -- without active freedom-to-marry lawsuits pending. A lawsuit in South Dakota is expected to be filed any day now, and the Minneapolis-based legal team in charge of that case is reportedly considering a challenge to the North Dakota ban as well.

A copy of today's Montana filing is after the jump, via Equality Case Files.

Rolando v. Fox Complaint by Equality Case Files

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