Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Alaskans Must Vote YES On The Marriage Advisory Vote On April 3rd To Protect Marriage In Alaska

On Tuesday, April 3rd, Alaskans will be going to the polls to consider a clarification of the original marriage amendment to the State Constitution passed in 1998 by nearly two-thirds of the state's voters. The clarification is needed because the Alaska Supreme Court decided in 2005 by a vote of 5-0 that public employers in the state of Alaska must pay spousal benefits to the domestic partners of gay employees because marriage is an "unavailable option" to gay couples, and that failure to pay these benefits to gay couples constituted "unequal treatment" (even though unmarried live-in heterosexual couples also can't get spousal benefits). Graphic courtesy of National Vanguard.

Yet just earlier this year, the Michigan Supreme Court interpreted a similar challenge to Michigan's marriage amendment differently. They ruled against requiring public employers to pay spousal benefits to the domestic partners of gay employees because, unlike the Alaska amendment, the Michigan amendment contained six additional words, "or similar union for any purpose". The advisory vote on April 3rd is designed to give the state legislature the additional moral courage necessary to craft a new marriage amendment containing those six additional words, or words like unto them. However, not all lawmakers are waiting to see which way the winds blow; on February 12th, courageous State Representative John Coghill (R-Fairbanks) introduced HJR 9 to accomplish the same purpose without a public advisory vote.

The Alaska Family Council has developed an essay designed to counter the pro-gay propaganda supporting the 2005 Alaska Supreme Court decision. The essay is entitled "Nine Essential Truths You Should Know About The April 3rd Vote", and is reproduced in its entirety below:

1). What exactly does the Advisory Vote on April 3rd do?

The Advisory Vote is an opportunity for the people of Alaska to have their voices heard by the Legislature and the Court. Although an Advisory Vote is non-binding, many legislators will listen. A YES vote on April 3rd will tell your legislator you want a constitutional marriage amendment to reverse Court encroachment. The question on the Advisory Vote will say “Shall the legislature adopt a proposed amendment to the state constitution to be considered by the voters at the 2008 general election that would prohibit the state, or a municipality or other subdivision of the state, from providing employment benefits to same-sex partners of public employees and to same-sex partners of public employee retirees?”

2). Why do we need another constitutional marriage amendment?

Nearly 70% of Alaskan voters voted for the marriage amendment to defend the definition of marriage in 1998. It is now Article I, Sec. 25 and says, “To be valid or recognized in this State, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman.” However, homosexual activists did not let the passage of this amendment deter them from pursuing the benefits of marriage for so-called “same-sex partners.” They challenged the State of Alaska and Municipality of Anchorage, both of which have historically treated married couples differently. Although Superior Court Judge Stephanie Joannides correctly ruled homosexual “partners” are not eligible for additional benefits, the Alaska Supreme Court, in a 5-0 decision, said that they must be provided the same benefits as married couples because they are denied the right to marry by the 1998 marriage amendment.

3). Health care costs are skyrocketing; many individuals cannot afford to purchase insurance. Shouldn’t all state employee and retiree “couples” receive spousal health benefits?

Those who support the court’s decision to pay health and retirement benefits to same-sex partners of state employees and retirees would have you believe that it is only fair that everyone be granted those benefits. In fact, only married couples and certain people engaged in “intimate” homosexual relationships are eligible for spousal benefits under the court mandated plan. Heterosexual partners or “live-ins” do not qualify under the court’s scheme. Other interdependent relationships are also ineligible for benefits.

4). Don’t children in homosexual households deserve healthcare?

Of course, all children in Alaska should be provided care. Children who have a parent working for the State, or a parent retired from State employment, already are eligible for benefits. In addition, Alaska has Denali Kid Care, a program that serves as a safety net for all children, and federally-funded programs provide health care for all eligible Alaska Native children.

5). If we don’t give benefits to same-sex couples won’t we be guilty of discriminating against homosexuals?

Government has the right to make choices in how its services and benefits are distributed, if based on a legitimate governmental interest. Homosexual “partners” have never had the right to marry or to receive spousal employee benefits either when Alaska was a Territory or during our 48 years of statehood. Granting these benefits now expands their privileges, based solely on their sexual behavior.

6). I am not a state employee. Does this issue really affect me?

The court’s decision was based on its perception that homosexuals were being discriminated against under the Equal Protection clause of our State constitution. If the Court is left unchecked, the same reasoning will be applied to all political subdivisions of the State as well as private employers in Alaska.

7). Should the State continue to regulate marriage or leave that to the Church?

The State has an interest in protecting marriage, a foundational building block for society. Many responsibilities flow from the marriage contract, including provision for the nurturing and protection of children that may result from the marriage relationship.

8). The Court has ruled that homosexual partners should receive these benefits. Is it right to go against the court’s wishes?

Our Constitution provides that “All political power is inherent in the people.” That means the people are the true owners of the Constitution, and are the highest authority in our State. Even though Alaska voters passed the Marriage Amendment long after the Equal Protection clause became effective at statehood, the Alaska Supreme Court used its convoluted logic to deny the wishes of the people expressed in 1998. The people need to correct this wrong.

[Ed. Note: Those who question "going against the court's wishes" suffer from the misguided notion that the judicial branch is the pre-eminent branch of government. They couldn't be more mistaken. The judicial branch is intended to be one of three co-equal branches of government. This means that while we must legally obey a court order (or suffer legal consequences), we are never barred from overturning that court order legally, either by appealing to a higher court or through passage of remedial legislation]

9). It seems only fair that state employees should receive equal pay for equal work. Aren’t we paying married people more?

Homosexual activists and their supporters claim the State uses an unequal pay scale by paying spousal benefits only to married employees. Their remedy is to include homosexual “partners.” The Court’s proposed plan adds only homosexual or same-sex “partners”, giving them “special rights” by granting marital privileges without the responsibility of a marital contract. Marriage comes with legal responsibilities and can only be ended by the legal preceding of a divorce, which entails legal responsibilities for property division and child support. Homosexual “partnerships” have no legal responsibilities attached to them and can be ended at a “partner’s” whim.

And the tide is starting to turn against the gay rights lobby, which has deliberately overstated its numbers for years and falsely represented their cause as a "civil rights issue" (which every black American should take offense to). Just yesterday (March 12th), the Chicago Tribune, in a lengthy article, reported that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace (USMC), denounced homosexuality as "immoral", although he continues to support the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The military, and in particular, the United States Marine Corps, has always exemplified those traditional values that helped catapult America to unprecedented power and prosperity, and it's the departure from such values that brings judgement upon a nation (Katrina, Loma Prieta, etc.).

In a related story, KTVA Channel 11 reported on March 12th that the Alaska Family Council was hosting a meeting that very evening with numerous church leaders on protecting marriage in Alaska. It was intended to be a briefing for church leaders on how to educate and convince their congregations to reject same sex-benefits for state employees. No media were admitted, and no decisions announced as of press time.

The Alaska Family Council and Eagle Forum Alaska offer suggestions on helping them get the message out. Click HERE for a PDF flyer you can print out and distribute to friends, neighbors, and community members. You can distribute the flyer alone, or include it with the distribution of any alternative newspapers or other material as you see fit.

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1 comment:

  1. Problem with your comments: Denali Kid Care does NOT cover all children. My daughter is not currently covered by any insurance because I make $7 a month too much for Denali Kid Care. The income guidelines for Denali Kid Care are only $25 higher than for Medicaid. When I started working for the State, my daughter was on Medicaid and the cost of my premium would be increased by $100 per month if I had her on my insurance. Thinking that I would qualify for Denali Kid Care, I failed to put her on my insurance and now I can't put her on my insurance until the next open enrollment which means she is not covered until July. Denali Kid Care is nothing but fluff.