Same-Sex Bozeman Couple Speaks Out About ACLU Lawsuit - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Same-Sex Bozeman Couple Speaks Out About ACLU Lawsuit

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MISSOULA - Same-sex couples across the Treasure State celebrate a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, by the American Civil Liberties Union's against the Montana's same-sex marriage ban. The ACLU is representing four same-sex couples from Great Falls, Billings, Bozeman and Helena, who said not only are their legal rights being violated, but also their dignity and freedom.

"There's a lot of people out there not in the same position as us, that don't have jobs, and can't get out there and fight for this right, so that's why we wanted to get involved in this lawsuit," said Ben Milano, a Bozeman man being represented in the case.

The Bozeman couple, Ben Milano and Chase Weinhandl, is one of four same-sex couples the ACLU is representing in the lawsuit against the state of Montana. The couples are seeking the right to get married, or to have their marriages from other states legally recognized in Montana.

"For us it was a pretty phenomenal experience to be part of such a history making event," Milano said.

Milano and Weinhandl have been together since 2007, and had a civil union in Chicago in 2011.

"We've pretty much been living like a married couple since then," Milano said.

In January they made it official by tying the knot in Hawaii, but now they said they want their marriage recognized in their home state.

"We're seeking out basic civil liberties that other couples have. I was born in Montana and learned you treat others as you would like to be treated. It's the golden rule, and I feel this is right thing to do," Milano said.

In the lawsuit Milano and Weinhandl, and three other gay and lesbian couples from across the state, said Montana's ban on same sex marriage ,passed in 2004, denies them legal protections, benefits and duties that heterosexual couples get, along with their freedom and dignity.

"I don't think the government should be limiting my love," Weinhandl said.

After five couples filed a lawsuit over Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage last week, Montana became one of only three states in the nation without a lawsuit seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples. Milano said it was only a matter of time before that changed.

"It's been a long time coming for Montana. It's been a long time coming everywhere," Milano said.

No hearings have been set in the case yet, but for now it's being celebrated as one more step in the right direction in the fight for equality.

"The times are changing, and people are starting to understand we should all be treated equally regardless of who we love," Weinhandl said.

As of Wednesday, the Dakotas are the only two states in the nation without a lawsuit seeking same-sex marriage rights.

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