Palin wrong on gay benefits
By Rep. Mike Kelly
I was deeply disappointed when Gov. Sarah Palin ordered marriage benefits to be provided for homosexuals who pair up with public employees, teachers, legislators, judges, commissioners, administrators and local officials.
In 1998 the Legislature and Alaskans acted wisely and clearly to prevent same-sex marriage. During that public process they also showed little interest in providing marriage-equivalent benefits for homosexual pairs at public expense.
To the delight of the American Civil Liberties Union and other promoters of the activist homosexual agenda and socialized medicine, the five-member Alaska Supreme Court is ignoring the will of the majority of Alaskans and their elected legislators, to whom we delegate the powers of law-making and appropriation of public funds. The Supremes are clever and experienced at twisting our constitution to advance their agenda against Alaska's families. Perhaps we should elect, not appoint them.
When Representative Coghill and I discussed the same-sex benefits issue with Gov. Palin by phone in November, she voiced serious concern about providing these benefits at public expense. After this conversation, I was floored when she caved in without a fight and announced plans to implement marriage-equivalent benefits for homosexual partners effective Jan. 1, 2007.
Make no mistake, provision of benefits to homosexual pairs will be just the beginning. Bets are on that the next lawsuits will come from shacked-up heterosexuals and common-law marriage folks who will claim the Supremes have treated them shabbily when compared to homosexual pairs.
Gov. Palin's decision to support the Legislature's action to provide for an April '07 vote of the public was commendable, but falls way short. Now is not the time to "go along to get along."
Her decision to create and fund a benefits-rich new public employee tier should rattle all Alaskans who are concerned about: 1) maintaining the separate executive, legislative and judicial powers of government; 2) the court taking another "detour into Oz" by equating unnatural homosexual pairings to the time-honored status of legitimate marriage between a man and a woman, entrusted by God and society with forming families as the essential building blocks of our communities, and with birthing, loving, feeding, clothing, housing, nurturing, educating, protecting and counseling our young; and 3) addressing the $10 billion public retirement system unfunded liability.
Governor, here is what I and many Alaskans had hoped the Palin/Parnell team would say in this regard:
"People of Alaska, the record is clear that in 1998 you stood strong against homosexual marriage and indicated no desire to provide marriage benefits to homosexual pairings at public expense. Nonetheless, our Supreme Court seems bent on forcing our legislative and executive branches to implement and fund these benefits with your money. I believe their decision is based on a tortured reading of our constitution, with complete disdain for families and the constitutional separation of government powers.
"Gov. Murkowski tried to stop the court, but erred by providing a set of proposed regulations implementing the benefits and then suspending the regulations pending action by the Legislature and new governor.
"The Legislature, which received the court's decision after close of the last regular session, tried in special session to prevent implementation by providing for a vote of Alaskans next April. They also ordered the commissioner of administration not to implement same-sex benefits that have not been approved or funded by the Legislature.
"Most Alaskans and their elected representatives don't want the state providing homosexual marriage benefits. The courts took seven years to make their decision. I've only had a few days. Therefore, pending investigation my administration will not, in defiance of the people of Alaska and the Legislature, provide these benefits or write a check to pay for them until the people have an opportunity to weigh in and unless the Legislature approves and funds these benefits. If this action causes a constitutional crisis, so be it. Threats of incarceration will not deter me or the lieutenant governor or my commissioner. Should my position change, you will be among the first to know."
We need action that flows from the same moral outrage and constitutional indignation that Alaskans displayed when they voted for the constitutional amendment in 1998. It's not too late, governor. Pull up! Pull up!
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Fairbanks, was elected to the District 7 House seat in 2004.
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