Saturday, November 22, 2014

Montana's Same-Sex Marriage Bans Falls; Becomes 34th State To Recognize Marriage Equality

On Wednesday, a Montana federal district court issued a permanent injunction barring Montana from enforcing statutory and constitutional provisions that prevent same-sex marriages or recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.  The opinion in Rolando v. Fox, (D MT, Nov. 19, 2014), granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgement on their equal protection claim, relies heavily on the 9th Circuit's decision last month striking down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. (See prior posting.) The Montana federal court's injunction, made effective immediately, makes Montana the 34th state to permit same-sex marriage.

AP reported today that in the Yellowstone County clerk's office in Billings, one deputy clerk has expressed religious objections, and three others have moral objections, to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The County Human Relations Director, after consulting with the county attorney, has exempted the four, in part citing Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring religious discrimination in employment.  Yellowstone County Clerk Kristie Lee Boelter is unhappy with the exemptions.  There are a total of 20 deputy clerks in the office.