Montana court rejects gay couples' equal benefits

The state has argued that spousal benefits are limited to married couples.

HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court has rejected a request that gay couples be guaranteed the same benefits as married couples.

The court wrote in Monday's 4-3 decision the request was "overly broad" and sided with a lower court's decision last year to dismiss the lawsuit.

But the Supreme Court left the door open for the couples to modify their request and try again.

The couples are not asking to for the right to marry. Instead, they argue the state is constitutionally required to let them make the same decisions about their families' health care and finances as married couples.

The state has argued that spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples. It argues that any decision to expand them needs to be made by the Legislature.

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