Alaska couples challenge same-sex marriage ban

[JURIST] Five same-sex couples on Monday challenged [complaint, PDF; press release, PDF] Alaska's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Alaska [official website], contends that the amendment [Art. I §25], added to the Alaska Constitution in 1998, violates their due process and equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment [text] to the US Constitution. Four of the plaintiff couples are seeking recognition of their out-of-state same-sex marriages, and the fifth couple is seeking to get married in Alaska. According to the complaint:

Alaska's exclusion of same sex couples from marriage and refusal to recognize existing marriages, as well as its affirmative voiding of lawful marriages from sister states, undermines the Plaintiffs' ability to achieve their aspirations, disadvantages them financially, and denies them "dignity and status of immense import." ... Plaintiffs and their children are stigmatized and relegated to second class status by being barred from legal recognition of their marriage in their home state. Alaska's exclusion of same sex couples from marriage and its denial of recognition of the marriages of legally married same sex couples unambiguously informs same sex couples and the community that their committed relationships are unworthy of recognition. By singling out same sex couples and their families and excluding them from any type of marital protection, Alaska law also harms the children raised by same sex couples and conveys to those children that their families are not equal to other families in the community
Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

Same-sex marriage bans are being challenged in state and federal courts across the US. A challenge is expected to South Dakota's same-sex marriage ban, leaving North Dakota and Montana as the only states [TIME report] whose same-sex marriage bans have not been challenged in court. Last week a judge in Arkansas struck down [JURIST report] that state's same-sex marriage ban. Also last week Indiana was ordered to recognize [JURIST report] an out-of-state same-sex marriage pending an appeal. In March the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the state of Indiana challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriages and its refusal to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.

 

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