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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in the state of Montana in the United States are not subject to prosecution by official authorities, but still face a number of legal problems that heterosexuals do not have.The state decriminalized same-sex sex in 2013. Same-sex marriage has been legal since November 2014. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is currently prohibited by law in only a few cities across the state.Same sex lawsThe views of the indigenous peoples in Montana about gender and sexuality were very different from those of the European colonialists. Blackfoot transgender people were called „ayai-kik-ahsi" (one who acts like a woman) and „avau-katsik-saki" (one who acts like a warrior) or „ninaukh-oskiti-pakhpyaki" (one who has a heart men). Among the Grovantars, Cheyenne, Assiniboin, and Crow, trans women were called atkhutkh, he-emane-e, uikta, and bade, respectively; the trans men among the Cheyenne were known as the Hethanemane-e. They performed roles appropriate to their gender and even got married. When, in the 1890s, an American government agent in the Crowe tried to force local bade to dress and look appropriate for their biological sex, he faced serious opposition from all members of the tribe, who objected to „saying it was contrary to nature." One of the „bade" was Osh-Tish, who played an important social role among the Crow.In 1865, the Territory of Montana adopted its first criminal code, which included a provision punishing sodomy (a "crime against nature") with imprisonment ranging from five years to life. In 1878, one of the first cases of sodomy in the United States was reported in Montana. In the Montana v. Mahaffey case, a man was found guilty of having sex with a fourteen-year-old teenager. In 1915, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that oral sex also fell under the sodomy law. During the period of this law, the courts in Montana have found several people guilty, including adults, who entered into such a relationship by mutual consent.In 1972, the Montana Legislature by 69 votes to 16 rejected a proposal according to which „private sexual intercourse between consenting adults is not a crime." In 1973, a new state criminal code was passed, which defined the term „sodomy" as „deviant sexual behavior" of persons of the same sex. Thus, oral and anal sex between representatives of different sexes, that is, heterosexuals, was legalized in Montana. In the new criminal code, sodomy was punishable by up to ten years in prison and a possible fine of fifty thousand dollars. The Sex Offender Registration Act of 1989 required anyone convicted of homosexual behavior to register with the local police chief and report any changes in their address.In 1991, the Montana legislature amended the state’s rape and sexual assault laws to make them gender neutral. The new version of the law provided for a uniform punishment for both heterosexual and homosexual rape for a minimum of two years in prison. Attempts to repeal the state’s sodomy law failed in 1993 and 1995. In 1997, the Supreme Court of Montana, represented by Judge Jim Nelson, in Grychan v. Montana, ruled that Montana’s law prohibiting consensual same-sex sex between adults was unconstitutional. Attempts to repeal this law in 1999, 2001 and 2011 failed. On February 20, 2013, the Montana Senate, by 38 votes to 11, passed a bill that repealed the consensual portion of the sodomy law. On April 10, 2013, the Montana House of the law by 64 votes to 35. Governor Steve Bullock signed into law on April 18 of that year.Same-sex marriageIn November 2004, Montana voters passed an amendment to the state constitution, which defines marriage in the state as the union of a man and a woman. On November 19, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Montana ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Judge Brian Morris vetoed the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, which went into effect immediately. The state of Montana filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, during which, on June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state prohibitions on same-sex marriage were contrary to the US Constitution. Thus, became legal throughout the country.AdoptionAdoptions by single citizens are permitted in Montana, and there are no explicit prohibitions on adoptions by same-sex couples or second-parent adoptions in same-sex families. Female same-sex couples have access to assisted reproduction services such as in vitro fertilization. State law recognizes a non-genetic, non-gestational mother as the legal parent of a child born through donor insemination, but only if the parents are married.Montana law does not regulate the practice of surrogacy, but courts generally favor the process. As a rule, courts order the birth before the child is born to spouses or unmarried couples and single citizens if there is a genetic link to the child. The presence of a parentage order for single citizens and couples who do not have a genetic link to a child is more often determined on an individual basis. Couples using the traditional surrogacy process may require a postpartum hearing or adoption in order to obtain legal rights to their child.Coalstead v. Manyachi dealt with Barbara Manyachi’s refusal of Michelle Coalstead’s right to see the children they had raised together before divorce and who were legally adopted only by Manyachi. The trial court sided with Kolstad and granted her parental rights. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the ruling on October 7, 2009, setting a precedent for future adoption by a step parent in same-sex couples statewide.Anti-discrimination lawsMontana law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in state employment and government-funded employment. In 2000, Governor Mark Rasikou passed a rule outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in state government employment. In November 2008, Governor Brian Schweitzer issued Executive Order 41-2008 expanding the anti-discrimination rule. In January 2016, Gov. Steve Bullock expanded the rule to include a gender identity clause and extended it to government contractors and subcontractors.On February 23, 2011, the Montana House of Representatives passed legislation by 62 votes to 37 that prohibits local municipalities from approving anti-discrimination categories not protected by state law. The bill was passed by the Montana State Senate Standing Committee on April 28, 2011. However, several Montana cities and counties have adopted and are enforcing regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in both public and private employment, housing and public spaces. These are the cities of Bozeman, Butte, the capital of the state – Helena, Missoula, Whitefish and Silver Bow and Missoula counties; in the latter, the prohibition of discrimination applies only to district employees.Hate crime lawMontana’s Hate Crimes Act does not address hate crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation. In October 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Beard Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act was passed by the US Congress, which also included crimes motivated by the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim. This federal law applies.Gender identity and expressionTransgender people in Montana enjoy the right to change the gender marker in official documents. Until December 2017, they could only do this after gender reassignment surgery and clinical treatment. These requirements have now been lifted. It is now possible in the state to change the gender marker on birth certificates by submitting to the Department of Public Health and Human Services an Affidavit of Correction, signed by the applicant, a completed Gender Determination Form, and a certified copy of the gender reassignment court order. The Department of Justice Department of Motor Vehicles will change the gender designation on their driver’s license and government ID after receiving a letter from the doctor confirming that the applicant is in the process of or has completed the gender reassignment process. In June 2018, a conservative initiative requiring transgender people to use public toilets that match their biological sex did not receive the required number of signatures to be voted on.Public opinionA 2017 poll by the Public Opinion Research Institute (PRRI) found that 57% of Montana residents support gay marriage, 37% are against and 6% are not unanimous on the issue.The same poll showed that 61% of state residents support anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, 33% opposed such a law and 6% found it difficult to answer. According to a 2019 survey, 62% of residents were in favor of including LGBT people in the state’s anti-discrimination law, 31% were against and 7% found it difficult to answer.In addition, in 2017, 53% of state residents opposed government officials being allowed to refuse to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people because of their personal religious beliefs, while 42% supported allowing such refusals and 5% found it difficult to answer. According to the same 2019 poll, 51% were against permission to deny services to on religious grounds, 40% were in favor and 9% found it difficult to answer.Summary of LGBT Rights in Montana


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