Attorney Speaks On US Supreme Court Ruling - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Attorney Speaks On US Supreme Court Ruling

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BOZEMAN - After months of work, on Wednesday the United States Supreme Court ruled that states where same sex marriage is legal will have the same rights at heterosexual couples.

"It's a major victory for same sex people," said Jim Goetz, Attorney at Goetz, Baldwin & Geddes.

Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing vote in a decision of five to four. He struck down section three of the Defense of Marriage Act which states DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.

Chief Justice John Roberts read the court's opinion dismissing the proposition eight case meaning petitioners do not have standing to appeal the district court's order. The decision was made by nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"They hear the arguments of the lawyers and then they do what's called conference. They vote, and then the majority of Justice writes the opinion," said Goetz. "Others join in or right concurrent opinions and the dissenters write their dissenters opinions."

A decision process like today's takes about a half a year to three quarters of a year. Goetz said our country has a large conservative supreme court.

"It is largely due to George W. Bush's appointments. They're quite conservative," said Goetz.

Goetz said these decisions do not have much impact on Montana because our state has a constitutional amendment that forbids gay marriage that was passed in 2004.

"We're trying to at least get same sex benefits. There was no attack on the gay marriage because it's a constitutional provision," said Goetz.

He said right now same sex marriage is not recognized in Montana.

"Marriage, by the way, has traditionally been a state function and the Federal Government has kept out of it," said Goetz.

Goetz predicts in the future that same sex marriage will be legal nationwide and same-sex couples will have the same rights as heterosexual couples, it's just a matter of time.

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