In 1998, Alaska became the first state to put a ban on same-sex marriage into its constitution. Now, the minority leader in the State Senate wants to get rid of that ban.
Anchorage Democrat Hollis French is introducing a measure to strike the amendment. Federal courts have recently invalidated similar amendments in Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia. French says Alaska should be pro-active on the issue in light of those decisions.
“We can wait if we all want to wait for the day — and I think the day is coming soon — when the U.S. Supreme Court rules that state prohibitions on same-sex marriage are inconsistent with freedom, with justice, with liberty, and with equality,” said French, who is also running for lieutenant governor. “Better yet, I believe it should be erased by our own actions – by passing this resolution and submitting it to the voters.”
French’s measure faces an uphill battle. Any changes to the state constitution require approval of two-thirds of the Legislature, and then a majority vote of Alaska citizens. On top of that, key members of Senate’s Republican leadership have said they don’t feel there’s enough support for it.
Same-sex marriage isn’t the only gay rights issue up for consideration by the Legislature. The Senate’s Health and Social Services Committee heard a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for the first time on Monday.
Read original story on Alaska Public
French Introduces Measure To Strike Gay Marriage Ban
- The PFD veto of $666 million covered a little more than a fifth of the budget gap.
- The CEO of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority stepped down on Monday. Jeff Jessee served as CEO for 21 years. According to a press release from the organization, he is transitioning to a new role ahead of his planned retirement in three years.
- The Alaska State Commission for Human Rights is the state’s anti-discrimination agency. In 2011, a legislative audit found that the agency wasn’t doing its job. Five years later, the agency is still trying to move forward.