Alaska's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down by Federal Judge, Striking a Blow For Equal Rights
Big news for residents of the great state of Alaska! In a huge ruling Sunday, Alaska's same-sex marriage ban was struck down by a federal judge, imperiling the constitutional amendment outlawing such unions which voters passed in 1998. Basically, U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess just gave a joyful day to any LGBT residents of Alaska who want to tie the knot, and that gives you a kind of warm feeling, doesn't it?
Sad to say, however, it isn't quite over with. I said "imperiling" instead of "ending" because there's reportedly going to be more legal wrangling on this issue —according to the Alaska Dispatch News' Michelle Theriault Boots, Alaska has decided to appeal the ruling upwards to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and could seek a stay on the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses until the appeal is resolved.
This is what a number of conservative-minded states have done in response to federal court rulings on marriage lately, though a appeal would likely not go too well — the pro-marriage equality tide in courts recently has been very consistent., and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with same-sex marriage proponents before. In simplest terms, same-sex marriage opponents are trying to swim upstream at this point.
Regardless of its efficacy, that's what a number of conservative-minded states have done in response to federal courts overturning their marriage bans lately. Idaho attempted to secure an emergency block preventing same-sex marriages from going forward, pending further litigation, but the Supreme Court denied the request. Earlier this week, however, was likely the biggest one-day victory for supporters of state-level marriage equality — the Supreme Court declined to hear a raft of state level appeals, validating lower court rulings and opening up 11 more states to equal marriage rights.
It's a particular achievement in historically conservative Alaska, which boasts a Republican governor and a majority-Republican legislature. And as the AP notes, its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was the first of its kind in the United States. Susan Tow and her spouse Chris Laborde were among the plaintiffs in the landmark case, and Tow was deferential to those in the past who'd struggled to accomplish this feat.
This is just an amazing day for Alaska. We're just so fortunate that so many have fought for equality for so long — I mean, decades.
According to the AP, many of the plaintiffs will be getting in touch to celebrate the decision, and why wouldn't they? Hats off to all the people getting to enjoy this moment in Alaska right now — it's well-earned and way too long coming.
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