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Published by Chris Geidner

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Published by: Chris Geidner on Dec 17, 2012
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12/24/2013

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¶114

[I]n view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in
this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens.
There is no caste here. Our Constitution ... neither knows
nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil
rights, all citizens are equal before the law.
6

¶115Plaintiffs contend that the State’s exclusion of same-sex couples from the

opportunity to obtain the benefits and protections which the State makes available to

different-sex couples violates five fundamental constitutional rights: to pursue safety,

health, and happiness (Mont. Const. art. II, §3), to equal protection of the laws (§4), to

individual dignity (§4), to individual privacy (§10), and to due process of law (§17).

6

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 559, 16 S.Ct. 1138, 1146 (1896) (Harlan, J.,

dissenting).

66

Because I conclude that the Equal Protection Clause (which happens to be Plaintiffs’

primary argument) is sufficient to resolve this case, I focus my analysis there and do not

address Plaintiffs’ arguments under Article II, Sections 3, 10, or 17. At the conclusion of

my equal protection discussion, however, I briefly discuss Article II, Section 4’s Dignity

Clause and the additional support it provides for Plaintiffs’ claim.

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