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Same-sex couples challenge Montana’s gay-marriage ban

The Dakotas are the only US states yet to have bans challenged in court

Four same-sex couples are challenging Montana’s 2004 constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, saying that it violates their equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, an argument that has found favour with a number of judges who have struck down such bans in the United States.

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, are plaintiffs in the case.

Following on the heels of the suit is a statement from Montana Governor Steve Bullock saying that it’s time to “recognize and celebrate — not discriminate against — two people who love one another, are committed to each other, and want to spend their lives together.”

This latest suit means that only two American states — North Dakota and South Dakota — are yet to have their bans challenged in court.

Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll has found that Americans’ support for gay marriage has increased again — now registering a high of 55 percent — with adults between 18 and 29 almost twice as likely to support same-sex marriage as those who are 65 and older.

The question, posed to 1,028 adults 18 years and older across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, reads, “Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?”