US: Alaska attorneys say equal marriage ban violates a ‘fundamental right’

Aaron Day October 6, 2014
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Attorneys for a group of gay couples challenging Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage have refuted a claim that it does not violate the rights of any couples.

A lawsuit was filed by five gay and lesbian couples in the state last month, which alleges the state’s 1998 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, because it violates their rights to due processes and equal protection.

However, the state’s response in June claimed that as a ‘sovereign state’, there is no jurisdiction for the court to challenge Alaska’s laws based on the US Constitution.

In a court filing on Friday, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said it is unnecessary to exclude individuals from its definition of marriage.

Attorneys Allison Mendel, Heather Gardnerm, and Caitlin Shortell said in the filing: “The issue is not whether there is a constitutional ‘right to same-sex marriage,’ but whether excluding people from a fundamental right that belongs to all individuals violates due process.”

Plaintiff Matthew Hamby has said he took a stand because “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.”

In April, Alaska’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples deserve equal access to a tax benefit as straight couples.

There are no remaining states with a same-sex marriage ban which aren’t facing a legal challenge.

Related topics: civil partnership, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage ban, marriage equality, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, US, wedding

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