Federal Judge Strikes Down Alaska Gay Marriage Ban

Federal Judge Strikes Down Alaska Gay Marriage Ban

A federal judge struck down Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage Sunday evening.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska ruled that the state's ban was unconstitutional under the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess wrote that any relationship between the ban and government interests was "either nonexistent or purely speculative."

"Alaska’s same-sex marriage laws are a prime example of how 'the varying treatment of different groups or persons is so unrelated to the achievement of any combination of legitimate purposes that we can only conclude that the legislature’s actions were irrational,'” Burgess wrote, citing an earlier court ruling.

"Refusing the rights and responsibilities afforded by legal marriage sends the public a government-sponsored message that same-sex couples and their familial relationships do not warrant the status, benefits, and dignity given to couples of the opposite sex," the Alaskan court decision continued.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R) released a statement on Sunday saying that he would appeal the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, though that court has already struck down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada.

“As Alaska’s governor, I have a duty to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution,” Parnell said in the statement. “Although the district court today may have been bound by the recent Ninth Circuit panel opinion, the status of that opinion and the law in general in this area is in flux. I will defend our constitution.”

When Alaska voters passed the amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman in 1998, it was the first of its kind.

This is a developing story and has been updated.

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