Friday, December 31, 2004

State of Montana, On the Primrose Path

Yesterday, one day after a trial judge in Arkansas struck down a state regulation that barred gays from being foster parents, another notorious hot-bed of liberalism, the Montana Supreme Court, struck down a state policy that limited dependent health care coverage to an employee's children and to the spouses of married employees. The policy required employees and their spouses to prove they were married. One way they could do that was by signing a sworn statement that they were part of an informal arrangement known as a common-law marriage, which requires that the couple live together and be known in the community as husband and wife. Couples who signed the affidavit were required to swear that they had "mutually consented and contracted to become husband and wife" and assumed "all the responsibilities and duties which the law attached to such a relationship." The court's majority (in a split decision, 4-3) focused on this option, saying that making it available only to heterosexual couples violated the equal protection clause of the state's Constitution.

The three dissenters on the court whined that the majority was rewriting the definition of Montana marriage.

Not so, said Justice Jim Regnier, who wrote for the majority. "We have not been asked nor will we address the question of whether Montana's marriage statutes discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them the right to marry." One might reasonably wonder, however, how long it will take for plaintiffs in the state of Montana to ask precisely that question: "Do Montana's marriage statutes discriminate against same-sex couples?" The answer is likely to be yes.

In a concurring decision, Montana Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson criticized the state's recent constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. "Sadly," Justice Nelson wrote, "many politicians and 'we the people' rarely pass up an opportunity to bash and condemn gays and lesbians despite the fact that these citizens are our neighbors and that they work, pay taxes, vote, hold public office, own businesses, provide professional services, worship, raise their families and serve their communities in the same manner as heterosexuals."

Clearly, Justice Nelson is a great big homo, along with Justice Regnier and the other two who made this decision, and they’re all going to hell. Meanwhile, bigots far and wide have another set of judges to hate, in addition to those in California.

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