We support a fair Montana, where everyone has equal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations and where every family is valued.
The State of Montana should ensure that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, are protected from discrimination and that committed couples have full legal protections for their families.
Join us in building an inclusive Montana where everyone is valued and where basic fairness provides everyone equal access to employment, housing, public accommodations and legal protection for committed couples.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity has no place when it comes to where a person can work, live or play or when it comes to caring for our families.
PUBLIC EDUCATIONFair is Fair Montana, the LGBT rights program at the ACLU of Montana, participates in public events, hosts trainings, phone banks and advocates in support of domestic partnerships for same-sex committed couples and equal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Montanans in housing, employment and public accommodations.
The ACLU advocates on behalf of LGBT rights in many forums across Montana, including the Montana Legislature, city commissions and school districts.
For years, the legislature has maintained the status quo when it comes to LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws. Legislators continue to refuse to expand the state's non-discrimination law to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. But in 2013 the ACLU of Montana was part of a coalition that successfully won removal of same-sex relations from Montana's code defining "sexual deviant." This victory was more than a decade in the making.
The ACLU of Montana drafted the ordinance and worked with the Montana Human Rights Network and other partner organizations in 2010 to push for the adoption of a nondiscrimination ordinance in Missoula and in 2012 in Helena protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in matters of employment, housing and public accommodations. Similar ordinances are now in the works in Bozeman and Butte.
Montana's Constitution guarantees the rights of privacy, dignity, pursuit of life's necessities, equal protection and due process. The goal of our lawsuit, Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana, is to see that same-sex couples are able to protect their families with the same kind of legal protections that opposite-sex couples are offered through marriage.
In Kulstad v. Maniaci, the ACLU's plaintiff, Michelle Kulstad, sued her former partner for custody rights. The two women had jointly raised two children, but the children had only been legally adopted by Maniaci. In 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that by providing for the children's day-to-day physical and emotional needs with Maniaci's encouragement, Kulstad met all the requirements under state law to be declared a de facto parent, and that it was in the children's best interest that this parent-child relationship continue.
In February 2002, the ACLU, on behalf of two same-sex partners and PRIDE, brought the suit Snetsinger v. Montana against the Montana University System, the Montana Board of Regents and the State of Montana for failure to allow access to health insurance for same sex partners of the University System employees. In 2004 the Montana Supreme Court held that excluding same-sex couples from health insurance was a violation of equal protection principles because unmarried opposite sex couples could file affidavits in order to obtain coverage while same-sex couples could not.