Posted: Dec 17, 2012 4:40 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Dec 17, 2012 5:48 PM
HELENA -The Montana Supreme Court has made a decision in the same-sex couples case, leaving the debate open about whether or not they are entitled to protections under Montana law.
In April, six same-sex couples brought their case before the Montana Supreme Court arguing that they had rights just like heterosexual couples.
On Monday, the state's high court said the couples request was too broad and they need to go back to the lower court and present a more specific argument.
Chief Justice Mike McGrath writes that the couples didn't ask for certain parts of the law to be declared unconstitutional but instead petitioned for a general declaration of their rights.
McGrath agreed with the lower court saying a declaration of rights wasn't the job of the court but instead the legislature.
The couples who brought the suit say they will continue their fight.
Justice James Nelson wrote the dissent, saying that no person should be the object of state-sanctioned bigotry simply for being born homosexual or for choosing to love another person of the same sex.
The couples who brought the suit say they will continue their fight to ensure that everyone is granted equal protection under Montana law.
"What we were arguing to the court is that our plaintiffs, our clients and all same sex couples that are in committed long term relationships in Montana should not be treated and differently. They should be given the opportunity to enter into a domestic partnership," ACLU of Montana Public Policy Director Niki Zupanic said.
The Montana Constitution was amended by voter initiative in 2004 to forbid marriage between anyone but a man and a woman.