EFA Legislative Alert, May 15, 2006
Dear Eagles and Friends:
I have heard from many of you who have called the Governor’s office to request he call a special session to address the issue of the State of Alaska paying spousal benefits to homosexual partners. Thank you! If you have not called please do so now and pass this alert on to your list. We must have people call the Governor at 907 465 3500 and request he call a special session to address this issue.
Here is a recap of what has transpired so far:
In 1998 the legislature passed a resolution by a 2/3 majority that asked the people to approve adding a new section to the constitution. The new language read: “To be valid or recognized in this State, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman.” In November, 1998 voters approved the measure by almost 70%. The new language was added to the constitution.
Homosexual activists then sued the state saying that it was unfair that married state employees receive benefits for their spouses while homosexual employees do not get spousal benefits paid to their partners. The case went to the Alaska Supreme Court. The court decided 5-0 in October, 2005 (just this last fall!) that the rights of these homosexual employees were being violated. The court said that since the constitution does not allow homosexuals in Alaska to marry and since you have to be married to receive spousal benefits, these people were being denied their equal protection rights. This refers to their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The court completely ignored the new language that had been added in 1998 and ruled the state MUST pay those benefits to homosexual couples.
When this decision was announced our Governor issued a statement of outrage. Since then we have heard nothing from his administration. Yes, he has been busy with a myriad of other issues, important issues I grant you but none as important as protecting marriage.
The state legislature filed a resolution in the House and one in the Senate this year. The resolutions were designed to add a clarifying statement to the marriage amendment that spelled out that marriage and the things which go with marriage are only for one man and one woman. In other words, this resolution asked the people if they wished to strengthen the marriage statement in our constitution.
You can think of it as an ongoing conversation between the court and the people of Alaska on this subject. The court has spoken and the resolution asks the people of Alaska to vote in November, 2006 on whether they want to respond to the courts ruling or let it stand.
Because this is a constitutional amendment a 2/3 majority vote was again required and the legislature came up short a couple of votes in each house. The session ended last week and now SJR20 and HJR32 are both dead. The legislature may take the matter up again in January, 2007. BUT, even if they do and even if they act with lightning speed, the soonest the measure could be taken to the ballot for a vote of the people is November, 2008. By that time the sate will have been paying these benefits to homosexual couples as though they are married for two years or more.
There is one remedy at this time. The Governor has the legal authority to call a special session and ask the legislature to take up the matter again. His doing so would send a big message to our legislature that he fully supports their efforts. The office of Governor has a lot of power and can be used to bring about great good or not. Governor Murkowski could call a special session and if the legislature passed a resolution during that special session, the people could vote on it this November.
I am well aware that the Governor has no mind to do such a thing at this point in time. If he does not call it, that will be his decision and he will be responsible for it. If he does not call a special session because we don’t ask, then the responsibility lies with us.
God is in charge and I am asking you to also pray for HIS will to be done. We cannot see the future, only our Almighty God can. His Word says, “We have not, because we ask not”. Won’t you join me in asking God to intervene and asking the Governor to call a special session?
Governor Frank Murkowski can be reached at 907 465 3500. Call and tell his office you want the Governor to call a special session to address the issue of spousal benefits for state employee’s homosexual partners. Tell him you want to vote on this issue in November.
If you would do one more thing, please write me back to let me know you called the Governor’s office so we can get an idea of how effective we are being.
Working for the family,
President, Eagle Forum Alaska
To subscribe to this alert, email Debbie Joslin