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ACLU of Montana seeks marital rights–by not status–for same-sex couples

Community/Meta LGBT Legal Cases

By Jacob CombsMontana state seal

The ACLU of Montana yesterday filed a lawsuit  in the state seeking marriage-like benefits for same-sex couples.  In the challenge, which comes after a previous lawsuit filed by the group, the plaintiffs asks only for marital benefits and not the legal status of marriage, The Missoulian reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana filed its amended complaint after the state Supreme Court rejected its first lawsuit in December for being too broad and not identifying specific laws that are discriminatory.

In the amended lawsuit, attorney James Goetz identifies numerous statutes, including laws he says prevent gay couples from receiving financial protections given to police officers and spouses and from designating their partners as beneficiaries for worker’s compensation.

The Montana Constitution restricts marriage to different-sex couples under a 2004 constitutional amendment that was approved by voters.  Despite that ban, the ACLU of Montana’s suit alleges, refusing to offer equal rights to same-sex couples that opposite-sex couples in committed relationships enjoy violates equal protection principles.

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