The marriage equality movement has come to Montana, as four same-sex couples filed suit there today seeking the freedom to marry and to have their out-of-state marriages recognized.
The couples are Angie and Tonya Rolando of Great Falls, Shauna and Nicole Goubeaux of Billings, Ben Milano and Chase Weinhandl of Bozeman and Sue Hawthorne and Adel Johnson of Helena. They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and two private law firms, Goetz, Gallik, & Baldwin and Morrison & Foerster.
“We want Aden to grow up knowing that we are a family like any other family,” said Shauna Goubeaux of her and wife Nicole’s 1-year-old son, in an ACLU press release. “Marriage is part of being a family. By being plaintiffs in this case we are showing him his mommies will stand up for what is right and stand up for him.”
Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, released a statement supporting the couples, but Attorney General Tim Fox, a Republican, “said he would vigorously defend the ban” on same-sex marriage in Montana, reports the Associated Press.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, “leaves just two states — North Dakota and South Dakota — with gay marriage bans and no legal challenges aiming to overturn them,” notes the AP. Suits are expected to be filed in those states soon.
It’s been a big news week for marriage equality, with federal judges ruling for equal marriage rights in Oregon and Pennsylvania; neither of those decisions will be appealed. Same-sex couples have begun marrying in Oregon and applying for licenses in Pennsylvania; the latter state mandates a three-day waiting period between application and ceremony unless a judge grants a waiver.