Legislators must defy court on same-sex benefits
Last year the Alaska Supreme Court usurped the will of the people of Alaska in one of the most far reaching power grabs by a court in America. Contrary to the provision in our State constitution that defends marriage as a union of a man and a woman, the Court demands that the State and its political subdivisions provide employment benefits to co-habiting homosexuals.
On Friday, October 27 Governor Murkowski called for a Special Session of the Legislature on November 13 to address the State’s response to the Court.
Following a Supreme Court order on July 1, Department of Administration Commissioner Scott Nordstrand has been working on enacting regulations to implement the court’s decision. According to law, the procedure for enacting regulations had to be reviewed before filing by Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman. Leman recognized that the regulations did not align with state statutes and declined to file them, returning them to Governor Murkowski and advising him of the deficiencies in the regulations.
Governor Murkowski and his advisors apparently concluded that Leman’s determination has merit. The Governor called for the Legislature to come back to Juneau to provide the authority to write the regulations the Court demands. Our legislators are being asked to write statutes (laws) to align with the regulations required by the Court. In other words, legislators are being asked to rubber stamp the Court’s request for new laws. The legislature does need to take action but not the action prescribed by the Court.
Last year several legislators attempted to pass a resolution for a constitutional amendment to be placed on our November 7 ballot. This amendment would have clarified that Alaska’s defense of marriage constitutional provision (Article 1, Section 25) does not require the State to provide benefits to people in partnerships other than marriage. Doing so would have shown the Court clearly that the benefits, rights and responsibilities of marriage are reserved only for those who are married.
We only allow those with certain criteria to be issued a license to practice medicine and the same is true for attorneys. The institute of marriage is so much more important than any in society and the criteria for marriage is one man and one woman. Nothing new, nothing different, just the same criteria we have always held. Homosexual couples are free to live together but society is not obligated to call it marriage or treat it as such.
Alaska state legislators need to stand strong to defend what Alaska’s voters have said clearly in 1998, not bow their knees to the imperial Court. Alaska’s voters have demonstrated that we want to protect the basic building block of society – the family.
It is vitally important to the institution of marriage and the nuclear family, to the state, and to the constitution that the Court not be allowed to usurp the authority of the legislature. The legislature represents the will of the people of Alaska. Children are the big losers if we abandon our principles and beliefs.
The ACLU and PFLAG are crying foul and claiming discrimination. We heard during the legislative hearings last year that legislators were trying to “take away” their rights. Take away rights? That implies that those rights belonged to homosexual “couples” and we are attempting to take from them what rightfully is theirs. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is nothing more than political trickery and sleight of hand at best. This is like a purse snatcher who steals a woman’s purse and cries foul when the policeman takes it from him. He claims the purse was his and accuses the woman of discrimination because she wants her purse back. In this case the court has sided with the purse snatcher!
The Alaska courts are guilty of judicial tyranny. Legislators must stand up and defend the constitution now by saying “No” to the extension of employment benefits to homosexual partners of State employees and retirees!
President, Eagle Forum Alaska
Former National Committeewoman for Alaska,
Republican National Committee
PO Box 377
Delta Junction, AK 99737
907 895 4565