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Alaska Supreme Court Backs Gay Partner Benefits


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Alaska Supreme Court Backs Gay Partner Benefits

by The Associated Press


(Anchorage, Alaska) The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday it was unconstitutional to bar benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees.

In overturning a lower court's ruling, the state high court said "the public employers' spousal limitations violate the Alaska Constitution's equal protection clause."

Nine gay or lesbian government workers and their partners joined the Alaska Civil Liberties Union in 2002 in appealing the lower court ruling. It stemmed from a 1999 lawsuit filed against the state and the city of Anchorage after voters passed a constitutional amendment blocking state recognition of gay marriage.

In the 2001 Superior Court ruling, Judge Stephanie Joannides said the state and city did not have to extend benefits to same-sex couples, equating them with unmarried heterosexual couples who also are not eligible for benefits.

The ACLU advocates setting up a domestic partner registry to determine benefit eligibility.

©365Gay.com 2005

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