Same-Sex Benefits (SJR20 and HJR32) Talking Points
In 1998 the voters of Alaska voted overwhelmingly to protect marriage in Alaska and passed the one man-one woman marriage constitutional amendment. This was made necessary as homosexual activists aided by the ever-helpful Alaska Supreme Court attempted to misinterpret the Constitution’s silence on this subject as meaning that marriage was open to same-sex unions. At that point, the legislature crafted the Marriage Amendment and placed it on the ballot to see what the will of the people was. Sure enough, Alaskans affirmed that marriage was only between one man and one woman. The 1998 amendment used clear succinct language and could be misinterpreted by no one who understands the meaning of “is”. That should have been the end of the matter.
Well, you guessed it, the Alaska Supreme Court doesn’t back down easily. In October 2005, the court got the chance they had waited for. If the front door wouldn’t work, they would try to jimmy the back door. The court ruled that the state of Alaska must pay spousal benefits to domestic same-sex partners of all state employees. How can you do that when the constitution clearly states that marriage is for only one man and one woman? They used the equal protection clause, which states in part, “all Alaskans are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Funny, we thought they didn’t know that clause was in the constitution. It turns out the Alaska Supreme Court has selective memory.
This is where the Legislature steps back into the picture. Some, including the media, have unfairly characterized the legislators as trying to “change the constitution”. Sorry, the Court has already filled that role. What the legislature is trying to do through SJR20 and HJR32 is CLARIFY the constitution.
This is what SJR20 and HJR32 will put on the ballot: “To be valid or recognized in this state, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman. No other union is similarly situated to a marriage between a man and a woman and, therefore, a marriage between a man and a woman is the only union that shall be valid or recognized in this State and to which the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities or effects of marriage shall be extended or assigned.” Underlined text is new language.
Here are some talking points for this bill:
This ballot initiative would give the people of Alaska an opportunity to reiterate what almost 70% of the voters said in 1998 when we passed the one-man one-woman marriage amendment to the constitution.
This is not an attempt to change the constitution. SJR20 and HJR32 are in complete agreement with what is already in the Alaska state constitution. It was the Alaska Supreme court that tried to change the constitution.
The union of a man and a woman in marriage has been accepted as foundational in every lasting society. Marriage is a private contract entered into by one man and one woman for the public good of society.
Those who are concerned that “everyone should have benefits” should consider moving to a socialist country where everyone has the same benefits, or lack thereof.
The court decision rendered by the Alaska Supreme court does not give benefits to “everyone”, only to same-sex couples. This decision placed cohabitating same-sex couples on the same level as married couples.
Preserving marriage and the benefits of marriage does not violate equal protection any more than gender-specific restrooms.
If homosexual couples want health benefits, they should lobby the state legislature to fund health benefits for homosexual couples. However, there is nothing in the state constitution that mandates the state to pay spousal benefits to homosexual couples.
Passing this legislation does not change the constitution; it gives the people of Alaska an opportunity to vote on whether to change the constitution.
Laws that promote marriage between one man and one woman to the exclusion of any other are supported by compelling governmental interests in the preservation of society and the public good.
To vote against HJR32 and SJR20 will deny the people of Alaska their right to vote on this issue.
Passing this legislation does not hurt those who disagree with us. They may vote no when it appears on the ballot in November.
If we fail to amend the constitution and the court decision is left to stand, the next step for homosexual activists will be to force the private sector to pay spousal benefits to homosexual couples. The October 2005 court decision put the pieces in place for that to happen.