Gay Marriage Ban and Laws: Montana Republican Attorney General Calls Appealing Same-Sex Weddings His 'Sworn Duty'
Another state has changed its stance on same-sex marriage after a federal judge struck down the state's ban on gay marriages. Marriages can begin immediately as the state's attorney general plans an appeal.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris ruled in favor of the four couples that sued the state for its same-sex marriage ban, according to NBC News.
"The court hereby declares that Montana's laws that ban same-sex marriage ... 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," Judge Morris said.
In his ruling, Judge Morris ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages in Montana, as well as those performed out of state.
The ACLU of Montana, one of the groups that brought the lawsuit to court in behalf of the couples, praised the decision.
"Every committed, loving couple has an equal right to the legal protections and respect that marriage brings. This ruling takes that constitutional principle of equal protection and makes it a reality in Montana," Jim Taylor, the organization's legal director, said.
Angie Rolando, one of the plaintiffs in the case, discussed the decision in a blog post.
"Calling Tonya my partner, my significant other, my girlfriend, my perpetual fiancée has never done justice to our relationship. Now I can look forward to the day when I can introduce Tonya as my wife," she wrote.
The state's Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, supports the ruling and said the decision "ensures we are closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom, dignity and equality for all Montanans," according to Reuters. Billings Gazette reports that the governor has also ordered his 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."
However, the state's Republican attorney general, Tim Fox, has said he will appeal the ruling, calling it his "sworn duty."