Religious Freedom Day: What Are We Celebrating? Freedom or Religion?

Jim Nelson 1

By   James C. Nelson, Montana Supreme Court Justice (ret.) Today is Religious Freedom Day.  This day is officially proclaimed by the President on January 16, of each year.  The day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted on January 16, 1786.  This statue […]

Oklahoma Plays Torture Roulette With Lethal Injection

By Cassandra Stubbs and Anna Arceneaux, ACLU Capital Punishment Project   The logical response to Clayton Lockett’s bloody, pain-filled, unconstitutional execution in Oklahoma eight months ago would be to prevent such torture from happening again. But Oklahoma has another idea for its first execution since Lockett’s. Instead of learning from its mistakes, the state will […]

We’re planning a wedding

Angie and Tonya Rolando

By Angie Rolando Plaintiff in the ACLU of Montana’s marriage equality case While Tonya’s and my  journey into the challenge against Montana’s ban on same sex marriage began in Great Falls in May 2014, our journey began nearly six years ago. At that time, when our love was brand new, it never occurred to me […]

Marriage Equality: Good for Montana, Good for Business

Wedding Bells

Marriage equality is about fairness, constitutional rights and human dignity, but it’s also good for business. Extending marriage to Montana’s same-sex couples would create $4.5 million in new spending in the state over the first three years as about 675 couples tie the knot, according to a recently released study. The Williams Institute study on […]

The time for marriage equality in Montana is NOW

Wedding Bells

By Liz Welch ACLU of Montana LGBT Advocacy Coordinator Just moments ago, the ACLU of Montana filed for summary judgment on behalf of four same sex couples asking to have the ban on same gender marriage declared unconstitutional. It’s one of the last remaining steps for Montana to become a marriage equality state. “We don’t […]

Victory for marriage equality


Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard that the Supreme Court denied cert in all seven pending petitions in the marriage cases this morning. This is a wonderful victory for same-sex couples in Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah who will soon be able to marry and have their marriages performed in other states recognized […]

Dishonorable mention for prosecutor


Remember the prosecutor in Ravalli County who prevented a pregnant woman from going to drug treatment because it would interfere with is hearing schedule? The one who six days later charged her with criminal endangerment of her fetus (a crime that doesn’t even exist) because she tested positive for drugs? Yeah. That one. Thorin Geist. […]

Montana Bar calls for increased Public Defender funding


The State Bar of Montana unanimously passed a resolution calling for funding for the Office of the Public Defender at levels adequate to fulfill its constitutional and statutory mandates at its annual meeting last week. The resolution quotes U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black — the justice who wrote the Gideon v. Wainwright decision 51 […]

Criminal endangerment charges dropped against pregnant woman


The judge made the right call in the case of a pregnant Ravalli County woman charged with criminal endangerment for after testing positive for drugs. District Judge Jeffrey Langton threw out the charge this week, saying it had no basis in law. “In order to construe the criminal endangerment offense to include a fetus as a […]

Activist prosecutor and judges place women at risk


The same prosecutor who charged a Ravalli County woman with criminal endangerment for using drugs while pregnant, succeeded one week earlier in preventing her from going to drug treatment because it would interfere with his trial schedule. Ravalli County Deputy Attorney Thorin Geist charged 21-year-old Casey Allen with criminal endangerment, on August 27, for putting […]