A federal judge on Sunday struck down
Alaska's ban on gay marriage.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy
Burgess said the ban violates the 14th Amendment of the
“The court finds that Alaska's ban on
same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same sex marriages
lawfully entered in other states is unconstitutional as a deprivation
of basic due process and equal protection principles under the
Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Burgess
wrote in his 25-page ruling.
Burgess heard oral arguments in the
case on Friday, three days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
in San Francisco struck down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada. The
ruling affects all states within the court's jurisdiction, including
Alaska, Arizona and Montana.
Republican Governor Sean Parnell said
in a press release that he would appeal the ruling.
“As Alaska's governor, I have a duty
to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution. 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,”
University of Richmond law professor
Carl Tobias told The
Hill that given last week's decision on Idaho and Nevada bans
an appeal would likely fail.
Plaintiffs in the case, Hamby
v. Parnell, are an unmarried couple and four couples who
married in a state where such unions are legal. Married plaintiffs
are Matthew Hamby and Christopher Shelden; Christina LaBorde and
Susan Tow; Sean Egan and David Robinson; and Tracey Wiese and Katrina
Cortez. Courtney Lamb and Stephanie Pearson are unmarried but wish
to marry in Alaska.
Lead plaintiffs Hamby and Shelden
(pictured) married in 2008 in Canada.