Court hears appeal in same-sex couples tax case

The Alaska Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in an appeal from the state over a same-sex marriage taxation issue.

Last year, a superior court judge ruled same-sex couples are entitled to the same senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemptions as married couples. The decision was based on an earlier ruling saying state and municipal employees in same-sex relationships couldn’t be denied partner benefits.

The state appealed, arguing there is no discrimination in how the statute or the regulations are written. And any denial of the exemption is only temporary since both partners receive the benefit at age 65. Married couples get the break when one reaches the age.

The ACLU argues the policy violates the Alaska Constitution’s equal protection provision for treating married and same-sex couples differently.