LGBT rights in Montana
|LGBT rights in Montana|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1997
(Gryczan v. State)
|Gender identity/expression||Altering sex on birth certificate requires sex reassignment surgery|
|Discrimination protections||Sexual orientation and gender identity protected in state employment|
|Same-sex marriage legal|
|Adoption||Stepparent adoption legal; No restrictions|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Montana face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Montana. Same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Same-sex sexual activity
Montana revised its criminal code in 1973 and retained its anti-sodomy statute. An attempt to repeal the state's sodomy law failed in 1991. The Montana Supreme Court held in Gryczan v. State (1997) that the state law prohibiting same-gender sexual contact between consenting adults was unconstitutional.
An attempt to repeal the statute failed in 2011.
On February 20, 2013, the Montana State Senate passed a bill, by a vote of 38 to 11 vote, that repealed part of the deviate sexual conduct statute dealing with consenting adults. On April 10, 2013, the Montana House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 64 to 35 votes. On April 18, 2013, Governor Steve Bullock signed legislation decriminalizing sodomy.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
A federal court ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on November 19, 2014. Judge Brian Morris issued an injunction against the state's enforcement of its ban that took effect immediately. The state's appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was mooted when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015 that Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, striking down every remaining state ban.
Adoption and parenting
Montana permits adoption by individuals. There are no explicit prohibitions on adoption by same-sex couples or on second-parent adoption by a person of the same sex as the first parent. In Kulstad v. Maniaci, Barbara Maniaci tried to refuse to allow Michelle Kulstad to see the children they'd raised together and had legally been adopted only by Maniaci, but the trial court sided with Kulstad and granted her parental rights. The Montana Supreme Court affirmed this ruling 6-1 on October 7, 2009, setting precedent allowing for future step-parent adoptions by same-sex couples statewide.
Montana, by executive order, prohibits discrimination on the bias of sexual orientation and gender identity only in state employment and state (sub)contractors. In 2000, Governor Marc Racicot first issued state personnel rules prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation with respect to employment by state government. In November 2008, Governor Brian Schweitzer issued Executive Order No. 41-2008, broadening state government's non-discrimination provisions. In January 2016, Governor Steve Bullock expanded the protections to cover gender identity and expanded it to state contractors and subcontractors.
On February 23, 2011, the Montana House of Representatives passed, by a 62-37 vote, a bill that would prohibit local municipalities from adopting anti-discrimination policies not protected in the state law. On April 28, 2011, the bill died in the Montana State Senate's Standing Committee.
The following Montana municipalities have ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: Bozeman, Butte, Helena and Missoula, and Missoula County.
Hate crime laws
Montana's hate crimes statute does not cover violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Jason Pierceson, Courts, Liberalism, and Rights: Gay Law and Politics in the United States and Canada (Temple University Press, 2005), 83-5, available online, accessed April 14, 2011
- Billings Gazette: Charles S. Johnson, "Montana House refuses to blast gay sex ban bill out of committee," March 29, 2011, accessed April 14, 2011
- "SB 107". Laws.leg.mt.gov. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "Montana axes obsolete sodomy law". San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. April 19, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
- Johnson, Chris (November 19, 2014). "Judge strikes down Montana ban on same-sex marriage". Washington Blade. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- CNN: 2004 Ballot Measures, accessed April 14, 2011
- Human Resources Campaign: Montana Marriage/Relationship Recognition Law, accessed April 14, 2011
- Human Resources Campaign: Montana Adoption Law, accessed April 14, 2011
- Montana – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Documentation of Discrimination
- Executive Order No. 41-2008
- Montana Governor Steve Bullock Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT State Employees
- "MT HB516 | 2011 | Regular Session". Legiscan.com. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "Bozeman, Mont., adopts LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance". LGBTQ Nation. June 3, 2014.
- Smith, Mike (February 20, 2014). "Butte-Silver Bow commissioners OK anti-discrimination law". Missoulian. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Talwani, Sanjay (December 18, 2012). "Nondiscrimination ordinance passes unanimously in Helena". Billings Gazette. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Missoulian: Keila Szpaler, "Missoula City Council makes history in adopting non-discrimination law," April 14, 2010, accessed April 14, 2011
- "Human Resources - Job Listings". Missoula County.
Missoula County will not refuse employment or discriminate in compensation, benefits, or the other terms, conditions and privileges of employment based upon: [...] sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression
- Human Resources Campaign: Montana Hate Crimes Law, accessed April 14, 2011