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Montana court rejects gay couples' equal benefits

BY MATT GOURAS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

HELENA, Mont. -- The Montana Supreme Court on Monday rejected an "overly broad" request that gay couples be guaranteed the same benefits as married couples, but left the door open for advocates to modify their case and try again.

The plaintiffs promised to do so, declaring they are "on the right side of history" and will inevitably win.

The court wrote in Monday's 4-3 decision Monday that a lower court was within its discretion when it earlier dismissed the request.

In that earlier decision, a Helena district court judge dismissed the six couples' case last year after state prosecutors argued that spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples. A voter-approved amendment in 2004 defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

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