Lawsuit Filed for Same-Sex Marriage in Alaska
Five Alaskan same-sex couples have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Gov. Sean Parnell and other state officials.
“Under current Alaska law, a couple who marries in Seattle and returns home to Alaska are married in the eyes of the law when their plane lifts off from SeaTac, but are legal strangers when the flight touches down in Alaska,” said Heather Gardner, one of three Alaska attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “No Alaskan is a second-class citizen,” she said.
“We are taking a stand because marriage should be available to all loving couples,” said Matthew Hamby one of the plaintiffs who married his partner Christopher Shelden last year in Utah (pictured at left). “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.”
The plaintiffs are seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to strike down both the Alaska Constitutional Amendment and other state statutes and laws that discriminate against same-sex couples. Other state officials named as defendants in the lawsuit include Michael Geraghty, Attorney General; William Streur, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services; and Phillip Mitchell, State Registrar and Licensing Officer for the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia currently recognize marriages between same-sex couples while 31 have legal bans.
Photos via Alaska Commons