ACLU Files Second Complaint For Same-Sex Couple Protection - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

ACLU Files Second Complaint For Same-Sex Couple Protection

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BOZEMAN -

The American Civil Liberties Union, and seven Montana same-sex couples, are once again suing the State of Montana to establish domestic partnerships for L.G.B.T. couples.

Rich Parker and Mike Long have been together for nine years. They go to work, go to the farmers' market and raise a son just like any other Montana family.

But unlike other families, Parker and Long are denied rights given to married couples in times of sickness, injury and even death.

"It would be we are equal under the law in the State of Montana when it comes to being a couple, when it comes to being a family,"said Parker.

But now in Montana, a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and seven other same-sex couples including Parker and Long, will challenge the state to change statutes plaintiffs said discriminate against L.G.B.T. couples and deprive them rights.

"We need to go the extra mile and make sure we have iron clad wills," said Long.

"And powers of attorney, living wills directives, just to make sure there is no question we are a couple," added Parker.

This isn't the first time a lawsuit for domestic partnerships was filed against the state. In December 2012, the Montana Supreme Court denied the request for domestic partnerships filed in the case Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana, saying the complaint didn't specify statutes that discriminate. The Court invited the plaintiffs to file again when they outlined specific instances of discrimination.

"In this round of the litigation, we have highlighted several statutes that we think exemplify the inequity of treating same sex married differently than married heterosexual couples," said ACLU of Montana Legal Director Jon Ellingson.

Long said this lawsuit doesn't affect anyone but people in their situation.

"The fight for equality is not a zero sum game," said Long. "If we win, it doesn't mean anyone else loses."

The state now has 15 days to respond to the complaint before a judge will set a hearing.

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