MT Supreme Court Rejects Same-Sex Partner Benefits Case
On Monday, the Montana Supreme Court decided that a case brought by six couples and the ACLU urging the court to extend partnership benefits to same sex couples was too broad and violated separation of powers.
The case, which featured six same sex couples denied rights under various statutes such as bereavement leave, protections in case of divorce, and death benefits, urged the court to recognize the rights of all same sex couples in the state and to change existing statutes to reflect those rights.
In a 4 -3 decision, the MT Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that the case was too broad in scope and that asking the court to change existing statutes violated the separation of powers between the court at the state legislature. The Supreme Court did change the lower court's ruling that the plaintiffs could not amend their case to be more specific.
Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson wrote in his dissent, "I have never disagreed more strongly with the Court as I do in this case. With due respect, I believe today's decision... wrongly deprives an abused minority their civil rights." He also challenged the state amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, saying "Indeed, a not-too-distant generation of Montanans will consign today's decision, the marriage amendment, and the underlying intolerance to the dustbin of history and to the status of a meaningless, shameful, artifact."
The plaintiffs plan to re-file their case after reviewing the court's decision.
Media Resources: Chicago Times 12/17/12; Huffington Post 12/17/12; KPAX 12/17/12; Wisconsin Gazette 12/17/12
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .