Montana Definition of Marriage, CI-96 (2004)

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The Montana Definition of Marriage Amendment, also known as CI-96, was on the November 2, 2004 ballot in Montana as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure provided that only a marriage between a man and a woman may be valid if performed in Montana, or recognized if performed in another state.[1][2]


On November 19, 2014, Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for Montana struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Morris did not place a stay on his decision, therefor legalizing same-sex marriage immediately. In his ruling, Morris argued:

These families, like all of us, want their children to adventure into the world without fear of violence; to achieve all that their talent and perseverance allows without fear of discrimination; and to love themselves so that they can love others. No family wants to deprive its precious children of the chance to marry the loves of their lives. Montana no longer can deprive Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples of the chance to marry their loves.[3]

—Judge Brian Morris[4]

Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued a statement in support of the ruling. He said, "Today's decision ensures we are closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom, dignity, and equality for all Montanans. It is a day to celebrate our progress, while recognizing the qualities that bind us as Montanans: a desire to make a good life for ourselves and our families, while providing greater opportunities to the next generation." US Senators Jon Tester (D) and John Walsh (D) also applauded the court's decision.[4]

Attorney General Tim Fox, however, is appealing the decision to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.[4]

Election results

Montana CI-96 (2004)
OverturnedotOverturned Case:Rolando v. Fox 4:2014cv00040
Yes 295,070 66.56%

Election results via: Montana Secretary of State

Text of measure

The text of the measure can be read here.


The initiative was introduced by Rep. Jeff Laszloffy (R) and supported by Senator Duane Grimes (R) and Terry Murphy (R-39). They argued that the new amendment would put the definition of marriage in the hands of the people, rather than the courts. They also argued that the acceptance of homosexual marriage, "[e]very public school in Montana would be required to teach children that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are perfectly normal." According to Laszloffy, Grimes and Murphy, this would cause Montanans to "lose the freedom to teach [their] children as [they] wish."

They also argued that if the initiative failed, small business employers could someday be required to provide expanded health coverage, retirement and fringe benefits to same sex "spouses" of employees, which could hurt Montana's economy and jobs. They also argued that churches would be "legally pressured" to perform same-sex weddings and that same-sex marriage is a "vast, untested, social experiment."[5]


CI-96 was opposed by Rep. Tom Facey (D-48), Karl Olson, Joan Hurdle, and Jennifer S. Hendricks. They argued that CI-96 denies basic rights to upstanding citizens of Montana and would ban churches and their clergy from legally solemnizing same-sex partnerships, infringing on the diverse religious beliefs of Montanans.

They also argued that the amendment would do nothing to actually strengthen marriages or the family unit in montana; "What CI-96 does do is diminish the freedom to be 'let alone' that Montanans have historically treasured."[5]

Financing the campaign

The "yes" campaign spent about $10,700, while the "no" campaign spent about $51,500.[6]

The major donors to the pro-campaign were:

  • Montana Family Foundation, $6,765.
  • Focus on the Family, $2,194.

The major donors to the anti-campaign were:

  • Pride, Inc., $15,067.
  • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, $10,000.

Related measures

Voters in 30 states have approved legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or initiated constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriages at the ballot box. The first constitutional prohibition was in 1998, and the latest one occurred in May 2012. Most of these amendments define marriage along the lines of a "union of one male and one female."


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters, but later overturned by courts:


Cases overturning the following bans have been appealed to higher courts and are currently stayed:

Note: Same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis County and the state recognizes same-sex marriages.


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters and have been upheld or not overturned by courts:


The following constitutional bans were defeated by voters:

Note: Arizonans defeated a measure in 2006, but approved one in 2008, which has been overturned.

See also

Suggest a link

External links


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