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Judge rules against gay couples seeking rights

2011-04-21T14:24:00Z Judge rules against gay couples seeking rightsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 21, 2011 2:24 pm  • 

A Helena judge has ruled against six gay couples seeking the same legal protections as married couples.

District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock ruled Tuesday that an amendment to the Montana Constitution that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, has already settled the question.

He says the question of granting gay couples the benefits, without allowing them to get married, is best left to the legislative process.

The gay couples weren't asking for the right to marry in the lawsuit against the state. Rather they wanted be able to make burial, health care and other decisions, while enjoying such benefits as jointly filing taxes.

The attorney general's office countered that Montana can't extend spousal benefits to gay couples because those benefits are limited to married couples by definition.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. Old Joe
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    Old Joe - April 23, 2011 8:56 pm
    Heterosexual couples hire lawyers to set up trusts, living wills, etc. GLBT people can do the same, and in fact GLBT people have set up a community of business people whom are also GLBT who will cater to them. FYI: Any attorney is happy to have your busines, gay or not.

    This is ridiculous, and simply another attempt at pushing the GLBT belief's on the public. I am equally disgusted with heterosexual couples who find it necessary to "make out" in public. Just a theatrical display of their ignorance and need for attention.
  2. notfromhelena
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    notfromhelena - April 22, 2011 2:07 pm
    I'm afraid whatever anyone says about the topic of homosexuality and marriage is never going to be correct....people will battle this until the day they die.

    PERSONALLY...I think if two people that prefer that lifestyle want to get married like those of us who are straight do...what's the harm? If 2 people were able to get married and let's say moved in next door to that going to affect my daily lifestyle? no..I'll still go to work...I'll still sleep at night. Whether you agree with it or not the fact's not going to personally affect your own life so why worry about it? I have a tough time watching that stuff on TV and I always want to change the channel I'll admit but the fact that it goes on doesn't affect my daily life in the least bit...I wish everyone felt the same way.
  3. DonaldM
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    DonaldM - April 22, 2011 9:29 am
    "Rather they wanted to be able to make burial, health care and other decisions, while enjoying such benefits as jointly filing taxes."

    Other than jointly filing taxes as a married couple(a change here wouldn't effect a Federal Tax Return), most of what they want can be easily handled by issuing each other a Power of Attorney, including a Medical Power of Attorney".

    The Judge is correct in saying this is a Legislature issue.
  4. farside
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    farside - April 21, 2011 8:46 pm
    Still just blown away at this, you want the rights? well just get a trust- how hard can this be, you can name anyone to have full ownership to health, finances, and any other details you want- and it's legal.
    As far as marriage,,,,, why? have we not gotten to the point to understand that marriage is a penalty in taxes- WAKE up- you pay more being married- DUH! So if you just want to throw your money away in taxes to say you are married- GOOD FOR YOU- idiots- sorry, but are you just waking up to the tax laws? You thought single was bad? run the numbers, you are thinking,, well, I just don't know what you were thinking. Living together is far better than being married- not worth it.
  5. ray
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    ray - April 21, 2011 8:24 pm
    Judge Sherlock ruled on a matter of law and he was right. Steeline's comment refers to a matter of ethics and he/she is wrong. If our society is to elevate a partnership between two people by affording it special priveleges, we have no right to dictate who those people are or what their relationship entails. Freedom is a wondrous thing, and asserting it for oneself while denying it to another is simply hypocrisy.
  6. Steve_Hartman
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    Steve_Hartman - April 21, 2011 7:56 pm
    I am so sick of this argument - gay rights vs straight rights, RE: marriage. And in every state the government takes sides. In Montana it's for straights, while in others it's for gays.
    The entire problem stems from governments' own laziness in stealing the word "marriage" from religion to make its laws.
    To me, there is an easy way to end the fighting. Run all laws regarding marriage through WORD's FIND and REPLACE program.
    FIND "marriage" and REPLACE with "civil union."
    Now the argument is over and government no longer must take sides.
    You want to get married? FINE! Then see your holy leader and work it out with your house of worship. Yah, you too, Satanites.
    One last thing. Be prepared to pay for two licenses - one for your civil union and one for your marriage license.
  7. Sacaudos
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    Sacaudos - April 21, 2011 7:23 pm
    Now they can take it to the supreme court to make the decision. In the end, they deserve the same rights that any relative would be afforded. A marriage is just a contract--whether between man and woman, man and man, or womand and woman. If you want it to mean more than that, go to a church!
  8. Sacaudos
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    Sacaudos - April 21, 2011 7:20 pm
    The judge felt that this was up to the legislature? Sorry, but the whole point of the judicial court system is to be impartial and protect from biases, such as what would find in the legislature. The judicial system is to protect human rights, and in this case, the gay couples deserve the same human rights when it comes to how they want to make joint burial, health care and other decisions. This is not something reserved only for married couples. Family members seem to get more rights than these couples! Shame on the judge!
  9. SanityNow
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    SanityNow - April 21, 2011 6:34 pm
    Steeline -
    I have to wonder why you are so afraid of this issue. You sound so self-righteous. Why can't you let these couples live as they wish? It won't affect you or hurt you one bit. I agree with TrustButVerify, civil unions should be a viable option. Let these people live their lives. Let go of your negativity on all of these social issues. It's not good for your health!
  10. steeline
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    steeline - April 21, 2011 4:58 pm
    The judges ruling was the right one and proper. To be married find someone that is of the opposite sex than you. If you can't do that then enter into your rights to contract with one another for your needs. Leave marrage alone. You are not the same.
  11. TrustButVerify
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    TrustButVerify - April 21, 2011 3:30 pm
    The article says that they wanted be able to make burial, health care and other decisions, while enjoying such benefits as jointly filing taxes. The attorney general's office countered that Montana can't extend spousal benefits to gay couples because those benefits are limited to married couples by definition.

    Seems like a pretty modest request. One would think that the tea party folks who want the government out of their lives and those who support gay rights could join hands on this issue. The problem with "fear-based" constitutional amendments, they cause needless pain. Perhaps one day Montanans can make amends and rescind this ill-conceived and hurtful amendment. Or, perhaps Montana could recognize the concept of civil unions and grant these rights and privileges to those "joined" in state recognized civil unions. I am not sure what the answer is, but the current situation is unacceptable. I suppose the judge and the AG only did what was legal, but in no way did they do what was "right"!

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