Thursday, August 12, 2010

Montana and Alaska couples sue for equal rights

From the ACLU:
Seven committed same-sex couples have sued the state of Montana for failing to offer legal protections to same-sex couples and their families in violation of the Montana Constitution’s rights of privacy, dignity and the pursuit of life’s basic necessities and its guarantees of equal protection and due process. The goal of this lawsuit is to see that same-sex couples are able to protect their families with the same kind of legal protections that the State offers to different-sex couples through marriage.

Because there is a constitutional amendment in Montana barring marriage for same-sex couples, this lawsuit is not seeking marriage. The couples in the suit are seeking the protection of state-recognized domestic partnerships.
Read here about the couples themselves. And, more information about the case here.
This lawsuit, which is being brought in state court and is making state constitutional claims, only directly addresses protections under state law. It is these protections, however, that grant married couples some of their most important safeguards during times of greatest need. Under Montana law, it is possible for same-sex couples to be barred from visiting their partners in the hospital and left out of conversations about emergency medical care. Montana inheritance laws refuse to recognize same-sex couples, leaving surviving partners with nothing if their partners die without valid wills. Similarly, it is possible for surviving partners to be barred from making funeral arrangements. Denying same-sex couples legal protections can also have devastating effects on their children because they are denied the security of knowing that their parents have a legally recognized relationship with one another, setting them apart from many of their friends.

Another case is moving forward in Alaska, again with committed gay couples suing for equal rights.

Step by step, make them try to justify treating their citizens as second class.

Update Here's info on a case in Wyoming.

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