We're challenging statutes covering police officers, worker's compensation and other laws where same-sex couples are treated unfairly and unconstitutionally. Plus, welcome to our new plaintiff couple, Peggy and Kelly.
The ACLU and plaintiffs, seven loving, committed same-sex couples moved forward today with efforts to secure domestic partnership protections by filing an amended complaint in Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana, challenging individual Montana statutes covering financial protections for police officers, worker's compensation benefits, end-of-life decisions, financial protections during illness and more.
"We're challenging statutes that offer some of the most egregious examples of how state laws do not give equal protection to same-sex couples and violate the Montana Constitution," says ACLU of Montana Legal Director Jon Ellingson.
In December 2012, the Montana Supreme Court denied the ACLU's appeal challenging every state statute excluding committed same-sex couples from protections granted to opposite-sex, married couples, but the Justices said the ACLU could move forward with statute-specific efforts to secure equal treatment for same-sex couples in the state. The amended complaint does just that.Plaintiffs in the case (including MJ Williams and Nancy Owens, pictured at left) have been hurt by statutes that treat committed same-sex couples differently than married couples. Mary Leslie of Bozeman lost her home in part because she was ineligible for worker's compensation death benefits when her former partner was killed in a workplace accident. Another plaintiff, Denise Boettcher of Laurel, was denied bereavement leave when her partner Kellie Gibson's father died.
All of the six plaintiff couples in the case up to now -- our "fabuliffs" -- are sticking with us through this process. They are committed to each other, are committed to helping same-sex couples across Montana and are committed to fairness in our state.