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

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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

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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

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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

justicescales

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

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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 […]

First woman graduates from Corrections Boot Camp

LaVohn Ellsworth web

 As family and friends looked on, Montana correctional boot camp graduates thanked their instructors and family for helping them to understand how they hurt their victims and to build skills and awareness to never do it again. But for 33-year-old LaVohn Ellsworth, there was another important thank you: “Thank you ACLU and ACLU attorneys. Without […]

War comes home: Police militarization

warcomeshome

It’s 2 a.m. and suddenly masked men are crashing through your front door with a battering ram, pointing guns at you and your family and shouting orders as they tear through your home, destroying property in their search for drugs. To incapacitate you, they threw a flash grenade through your bedroom window. Your children are […]

Religious Freedom is not a license to discriminate

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Claiming a religious right to discriminate is nothing new. Once upon a time it was used to justify racial discrimination. Most recently we’ve been seeing the cry of “religious freedom” being used by businesses that don’t want to provide contraception to their employees and don’t want to serve or employ gay, lesbian and transgender people. […]