Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Alaska Superior Court Judge Declare's Alaska's Proposed Same-Sex Benefits Plan "Too Restrictive"

An Anchorage judge has found same-sex couples are being held to higher standards than married couples when it comes to receiving health benefits. Full story from KTUU Channel 2 in Anchorage.

Last October, after the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the state and city must offer benefits to same-sex couples regardless of the constitutional amendment passed in 1998 defining marriage as between one man and one woman only, both the State of Alaska and the Municipality of Anchorage were tasked to develop and present implementation plans to Alaska Superior Court Judge Stephanie Joannides, who's overseeing the process. This continued despite Governor Frank Murkowski's vow to appeal the Alaska Supreme Cout decision.

However, earlier this month, Judge Joannides found the state's same-sex benefits too restrictive. For example, the state plan has a one-year waiting period and a list of criteria that must be met in order to get benefits. It also makes same-sex couples sign an affidavit that reaffirms their relationship every year. The American Civil Liberties Union says those are different standards than those for a married couple, so it's back to the drawing board for the state. It has until October 6th to come up with new regulations.

The court ruled that benefits must be in place by the end of this year. A public hearing on the issue is being held Thursday September 28th, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Atwood Building in downtown Anchorage.

Comment: Just another example of the flagrant disregard for the will of the people on the part of the judicial branch. Judge Joannides should be targeted for rejection at the next retention election. I urge those in South Central Alaska who are available and who are opposed to this decision to show up at the Atwood Building for the public hearing on Thursday September 28th, from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M.

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