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HELENA - Arguments are set in the case of six gay couples suing the state for the same rights as married couples in making decisions affecting their family's health care and finances.

The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, say the state Constitution's equal protection and privacy clauses guarantee those legal protections.

The ACLU is asking District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock to rule in their favor without a trial.

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Attorney General Steve Bullock has asked the court to dismiss the case. He says spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples, and the Montana Constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

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Sherlock is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday afternoon. The judge is not expected to make an immediate ruling.

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