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Montana Definition of Marriage, CI-96 (2004)

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The Montana Marriage Verification Measure, also known as CI-96, was an initiated constitutional amendment on the November 2, 2004 ballot in Montana, where it was approved.[1]

The amendment sought to require that only a marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized as legal in the state.

Election results

CI-96 (Marriage)
Approveda Yes 295,070 66.6%

Official results via: The Montana Secretary of State


The initiative was introduced by Rep. Jeff Laszloffy (R)[2] and supported by Senator Duane Grimes (R) and Terry L. Murphy. 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."[3]


CI-96 was opposed by Rep. Tom Facey (D), 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."[4]

Financing the campaign

The "yes" campaign spent about $10,700, while the "no" campaign spent about $51,500.[5]

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.

See also

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External links