Posted: Jul 24, 2013 7:52 PM by Victoria Fregoso - MTN News
LAUREL - Kellie Gibson and her partner Denise Boettcher, along with their 8-year-old adopted son Morrgan say they're just like any other family. They've decided to take a stand and file a lawsuit along with the ACLU and six other couples against the state of Montana.
The lawsuit would secure domestic partnership protections. "Really all it's asking for is that we get equal protection under the law," Denise said. "That we get the same rights and benefits that would be allotted to common law marriage."
Since they began dating in 2000, the couple has jumped a countless number of hurdles to gain rights others have. "When my father died, she (Denise) was denied bereavement leave which was really hard because she's the co-parent of our son who was my parents grandson and she had to basically lose pay to be able to take days off for my dad's funeral," Kellie said.
This isn't the ACLU's first attempt at this lawsuit. It was denied by the Montana Supreme Court in December of 2012. This time around, the plaintiffs are taking a specific approach to each individual statute. "Montana has always had the attitude of 'live and let live' and I would hope that they could see things like this," Kellie said. "We're not asking for marriage, we're asking for acceptance."
Denise says winning this lawsuit would allow her to take care of her family. "And know that I have the right to do that and that my requests or her requests will be listened to if and when we need them to listen."
Whatever the outcome, Denise and Kellie say these are steps they're willing to take for other couples in the future. "I'm hopeful that it will be changed," Kellie said. "It may not be changed right now. But eventually we're going to keep knocking at the door. It's not going to go away."
The couple says right now they're waiting on dates of when they can appear before the judge and began the hearing process.