Alaska

Alaska

Hamby et al. v. Parnell et al.

The Path to Victory:

On October 12, a federal judge ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down the state's ban on marriage between same-sex couples. The state has said that they will appeal the ruling, but given actions from the United States Supreme Court and the 10th Circuit in October 2014, it is unlikely that their efforts would succeed.

Case Background:

On May 12, 2014, private lawyers filed a federal lawsuit in Alaska on behalf of five same-sex couples either seeking the freedom to marry in the state and respect for marriages legally performed in other states. 

The lawsuit argues that a constitutional amendment in Alaska banning same-sex couples from marriage (passed in 1998) violates the United States Constitution. 

Heather Gardner, one of three Alaska lawyers serving as counsel in the case, explained via press release: "Under current Alaska law, a couple who marries in Seattle and returns home to Alaska are married in the eyes of the law when their plane lifts off from SeaTac, but are legal strangers when the flight touches down in Alaska. No Alaskan is a second class citizen."

The five plaintiff couples are all Alaska residents, with 4 of them holding marriage licenses from other states and seeking respect for those licenses in Alaska and one couple seeking the freedom to marry in their home state.

Matthew Hamby, one of the plaintiffs in the case, who married his partner Christopher Shelden last year in Utah, said: "We are taking a stand because marriage should be available to all loving couples. It’s important to us that our family is recognized by the State of Alaska and that we have the same rights and privileges as others."

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