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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thirty-Four? I'm Losing Count (Updated)

At any rate, add Montana to the list of marriage equality states. Via Joe.My.God.:

The Court hereby DECLARES that Montana’s laws that ban same-sex marriage, including Article XIII, section 7 of the Montana Constitution, and Montana Code Annotated section 40-1-103 and section 40-1-401, violate Plaintiffs’ rights to equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court PERMANENTLY ENJOINS the State of Montana and its officers, employees, agents, and political subdivisions from enforcing Article XIII, section 7 of the Montana Constitution, Montana Code Annotated section 40-1-103 and section 40-1-401, and any other laws or regulations, to the extent that they prohibit otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marrying in Montana, and to the extent that they do not recognize same-sex marriages validly contracted outside Montana. This injunction shall take effect immediately.
(Emphasis added.)

Yep, no stay. Marriages begin immediately. The full ruling is here.

The Republican Attorney General, Tim Fox, will, of course, appeal. His appeal will most likely go first to the Ninth Circuit, which has already struck down marriage bans in Nevada and Utah and is not likely to change its mind for Montana. He can appeal to SCOTUS, which has already declined to hear appeals from Nevada and Utah, so I doubt that he'll get any satisfaction there.

The Democratic Governor, Steve Bullock, has a different take entirely. Again, via Joe.My.God.:

Today’s decision ensures we are closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom, dignity, and equality for all Montanans. It is a day to celebrate our progress, while recognizing the qualities that bind us as Montanans: a desire to make a good life for ourselves and our families, while providing greater opportunities to the next generation. I have instructed my administration to quickly take all appropriate steps to ensure that we are recognizing and affording the same rights and responsibilities to legally married same-sex couples that all married Montanans have long enjoyed.

And of course, the map:

It appears that both Kansas and Missouri are going county by county and waiting for someone to make it statewide. Desperation makes people do weird things.

Update: Here's Timothy Kincaid's summary of the status of marriage equality as of today, with an updated map.

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