|1994-AUG-4: Jay Brause and Gene Dugan filed an application for a marriage license. With the exception of being of the same gender, they otherwise satisfied all of the requirements of the marriage act. The Office of Vital Statistics denied their application. They filed suit in the Alaska Superior Court.|
Attorney Robert Wagstaff presented arguments before Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski. The plaintiffs asked that the existing Marriage Code be declared unconstitutional because it violates two rights guaranteed by the Alaska constitution: their rights to privacy (their right to be let alone) and their rights of equal protection. Wagstaff pointed out that there are over 100 state statutes that provide rights and protections to married couples which are not available to persons of the same sex who live together in a permanent partnership. The Alaska Constitution forbids gender-based discrimination, yet is withholding privileges from Brause and Dugan solely because of they are both male.
|1995-MAR-3: Representative Normaon Rokeberg (R) introduced
House Bill 227 to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. It was
passed by the House on 1996-FEB-28.|
|1996-MAR-14: Rep. Lyda Green (R) introduced Senate Bill 30
to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. It is entitled
"An Act clarifying a statute relating to persons who may legally marry." It states, in part, that: |
It was passed by the Senate Health, Education and Social Services Committee, by the Senate, and by the House. Governor Tony Knowles (D) did not sign the bill, but rather allowed the bill to become law.
1998-FEB-3: The Senate Health, Education and Social Services Committee introduced Senate Joint Resolution 42. It proposed "an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to marriage." It would add a Section 15 to the Constitution, declaring that:
|1998-FEB-27: Superior Court Judge Peter A Michalski issued his decision. It was similar to that of Circuit Court Judge Kevin Chang in a comparable case in Hawaii: that the choice of a spouse is a fundamental human right for all persons. He ordered the state to show a compelling reason why heterosexuals should be given special marriage rights while homosexuals are prohibited from marrying.|
In his ruling, he stated that:
"It is the duty of the court to do more than merely assume that marriage is only, and must only be, what most are familiar with. In some parts of our nation mere acceptance of the familiar would have left segregation in place. In light of Brause and Dugan's challenge to the constitutionality of the relevant statutes, this court cannot defer to the legislature or familiar notions when addressing this issue."
He ruled that:
"... marriage, i.e., the recognition of one's choice of a life partner, is a fundamental right. The state must therefore have a compelling interest that supports its decision to refuse to recognize the exercise of this fundamental right by those who choose same-sex partners rather than opposite-sex partners."
On the assertion that Brause and Dugan's right to privacy had been abridged, the Judge stated that on the surface, it might appear that the constitutional privacy clause might not apply. "...after all, they are seeking public recognition of a same-sex marriage." But he asserted that the selection of a marriage partner
"... is personal, intimate, and [thus is] subject to the protection of the right to privacy."
On the assertion that their equal protection had been abridged, the Alaska Constitution says in Article 1, Section 3 that
"No person is to be denied the enjoyment of any civil or political right because of race, color, creed, sex or national origin."
Judge Michalski's decision found:
"... a person's choice of life partner to be a fundamental right. The consequence of this decision is that any limitations on this right are subject to the strict scrutiny standard established by the Alaska Supreme Court."
He concluded that:
"The parties are directed to set necessary further hearings to determine whether a compelling state interest can be shown for the ban on same-sex marriage found in the Alaska Marriage Code."
The State appealed Judge Michalski's ruling to the Alaska Supreme Court. The legislature passed a resolution urging the court to act quickly and overturn the Superior Court ruling. There were no further developments.
1998-JUL-17: Rev. Howard Bess is a Baptist pastor of the Church of the Covenant near Wasilla, AK. He and his wife are close friends of the Brause and Dugan couple. With reference to Measure 2 -- the proposed constitutional amendment -- he said:
He filed a lawsuit, claiming that:
Their lawyer, Robert Wagstaff, accused the legislature of being "on a
divine mission...If the constitution stops it, [then] they're out to change the
constitution." They also want to change the ballot title from: "Constitution
Amendment Limiting Marriage" to "Constitutional Amendment Denying
Homosexuals Fundamental Rights."
1998-JUL-24: Republican lawmakers sued Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer (D). One of her tasks is to describe impartially each amendment and initiative presented to the public. They claim that she distorted the meaning of the anti-gay marriage initiative when she started her summary with:
The Republicans assert that the word "limit" is incorrect
They asked the Superior Court to force Ulmer to use an earlier draft of her summary which begins:
1998-JUL-30: The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska (AkCLU) 1 filed a lawsuit against the state, seeking to cancel Measure 2. Executive Director Jennifer Rudinger stated that:
Copyright © 2002 to 2014 by
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-OCT-14
Author: B.A. Robinson
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