SHARE YOUR STORY
The ACLU of MT needs your help to
make domestic partnerships a reality in Montana!
Real families with real stories
will help us convince the public that same-sex couples need
equal protection to safeguard our families in times of crisis.
For more information
read the ACLU memo below
or write to
ACLU of Montana LGBT Advocacy Coordinator Ninia Baehr at email@example.com.
In Montana, the state government offers legal protections to couples and families that help them care for one another. Right now, these protections are only available to couples who get married. This means that opposite-sex couples are eligible for the safeguards offered by the state, because they are able to marry. But loving, committed couples of the same sex are left without the protections they need to care for one another in times of crisis, and that’s not fair.
The Montana Constitution guarantees fair and equal treatment to all people. That’s why the ACLU of Montana is suing on behalf of same-sex couples who have been denied the ability to take care of each other and their families. In the lawsuit Donaldson and Guggenheim v. Montana, the plaintiffs are asking the state to create a domestic partnership registry that would grant them access to the safeguards that are currently only available through marriage. Here are a few of the ways the plaintiffs have been discriminated against:
- Mary Leslie of Bozeman lost her home because she was ineligible for worker’s compensation death benefits when her partner was killed in an accident.
- Denise Boettcher of Laurel was denied bereavement leave when her partner Kellie Gibson’s father died.
- When Mary Anne Guggenheim of Helena had a hip replacement, a health care provider would not speak to her long-time partner Jan Donaldson without a release.
Lawsuits like Donaldson and Guggenheim are important, but to win lasting fairness for gay and lesbian couples we need to convince not only the courts but also the general public that Montanans need domestic partnerships. Our public education campaign, Fair is Fair, highlights the real stories of real people who have been denied equal protection. We are looking for same-sex couples who are willing to share their stories about how they have been denied basic protections afforded to other families. We are especially interested in hearing from couples who have been denied one of the following rights:
The right to make medical decisions for their partner if s/he is incapable of doing so
Inheritance rights or the right to determine burial arrangements
The right to family medical or bereavement leave
Priority to become the court-appointed guardian for an incapacitated partner
Have you had experiences like these?
If so, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (406) 579- 8884. ACLU staff will listen and talk with you to explore whether your story might be a good fit with the Fair is Fair campaign. We will keep your information confidential unless and until you feel comfortable telling your story publicly. For more information about the Fair is Fair campaign go to www.fairisfairmontana.org. And please do pass this on if you know a couple who might be interested. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard!
- Fairness For All Families- Billings (dgsmith.org)
- Nevada Same-Sex Couple Denied Hospital Visitation Despite Domestic Partnership (thinkprogress.org)
- Newlyweds Give Same-Sex Couples First Dance at Wedding (advocate.com)
- Power of Attorney Critical for LGBT Couples (blogs.lawyers.com)
- Gay Activist Goes Undercover At NOM Conference (patheos.com)
- HRC: Paul Ryan voted against hate-crimes law, end of military ban, letting gay couples marry adopt (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Hate (Officially) Comes To Billings For A Day (dgsmith.org)