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Alaska argues states have a right to gay marriage bans

Alaska argues states have a right to gay marriage bans

The US state of Alaska argues citizens, not courts, have the right to define marriage.

Yesterday, 26 September, the state filed papers in federal court for a suit five same-sex couples initiated this past May. The plaintiffs insist the state’s ban on marriage equality, passed by voters in 1998, violates the Constitution.

Alaska counters such decisions by citizens are essential to democracy.

‘The State of Alaska does not dispute that the residents of individual states have the right to change their marriage laws…,’ the filings said, as reported by the Associated Press.

‘However, the State urges that residents of Alaska possess the same fundamental right to retain the traditional definition of marriage,’ the state continued. ‘This basic premise of democratic government should not be usurped by the judiciary absent compelling circumstances which the State respectfully urges are not present in this case.’

The state added no right to marriage equality is in the US Constitution.

According to Freedom to Marry, the case is called Hamby et al. v. Parnell et al. All of the plaintiff couples are Alaskan residents, four of them have marriage licenses from other states.

‘We are taking a stand because marriage should be available to all loving couples,’  Matthew Hamby said in a release announcing the suit.

Hamby and his partner, Christopher Shelden, were married last year in Utah.

‘It’s important to us that our family is recognized by the State of Alaska and that we have the same rights and
privileges as others,’ Hamby continued.

In recent months, LGBTI families received favorable results from Alaska’s highest bench. In July, the state Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples should have access to survivor benefits.

This past April, the same bench decided the state can no longer discriminate against same-sex families by not allowing access to property tax exemptions reserved for senior citizens and disabled veterans.

Oral arguments for Hamby v. Parnell are planned for October.