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Marriage, no; health care, OK.

The state of Alaska passed one of the nation's first constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in 1998. Now it may be helping to undo some of the sweeping restrictions such bans have imposed on state governments across the country.

The Alaska supreme court on October 28 unanimously ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees, rejecting the argument that providing the benefits ran counter to the same-sex marriage ban.

"Other courts in other states could [now] be looking to the state of Alaska on how it handled the equal-protection rationale," said Michael Macleod-Ball of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ruling came as a relief to plaintiff Lin Davis, a state employee who has struggled to pay for health benefits for her out-of-work partner, Maureen Longworth. "It is such a relief to know that we'll soon have access to the same health benefits that my coworkers do," she said.
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Title Annotation:Alaska supreme court clears health benefits for public employees
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 6, 2005
Words:156
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