The Court hereby DECLARES that Montana’s laws that ban same-sex marriage, including Article XIII, section 7 of the Montana Constitution, and Montana Code Annotated section 40-1-103 and section 40-1-401, violate Plaintiffs’ rights to equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court PERMANENTLY ENJOINS the State of Montana and its officers, employees, agents, and political subdivisions from enforcing Article XIII, section 7 of the Montana Constitution, Montana Code Annotated section 40-1-103 and section 40-1-401, and any other laws or regulations, to the extent that they prohibit otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marrying in Montana, and to the extent that they do not recognize same-sex marriages validly contracted outside Montana. This injunction shall take effect immediately.That makes it pretty clear that same-sex couples can get married in Big Sky Country now! (There is no stay on the order.) The Democratic Governor of Montana Steve Bullock praised the decision while the Republican Attorney General (named defendant) Tim Fox announced that he would appeal the decision (presumably to the Ninth Circuit, which has already ruled that marriage equality is required under federal law, and then to the Supreme Court, which has previously refused to issue stays on the effect of marriage equality rulings from the 9th Circuit.
Another key quote from the ruling is:
Montana’s laws that ban same-sex marriage impose a “disfavored legal status” on same-sex couples. The time has come for Montana to follow all the other states within the Ninth Circuit and recognize that laws that ban same-sex marriage violate the constitutional right of same-sex couples to equal protection of the laws. Today Montana becomes the thirty-fourth state to permit same-sex marriage.And so it goes...
Hat/tip to Equality Case Files.