U.S. News


Judge Rules Alaska Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled Sunday that Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage violates the 14th Amendment.
Posted at 10:02 PM, Oct 12, 2014

A federal judge has ruled Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. 

The ruling was a result of a lawsuit filed in May by several same-sex couples challenging a constitutional amendment put in place by voters in 1998, which limited marriage to one man and one woman. 

According to KTVA, Assistant Attorney General Bill Milks argued, "Social policy should not be taken away from the democratic process," arguing the 1998 ban, which was approved by voters, should stand.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess ruled otherwise, saying, "The core purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment is to protect an individual's freedom by ensuring that a constitutional right is not 'infringed simply because a majority of people choose that it be.'"

This ruling is a complete injunction of further enforcement of the law, meaning same-sex couples can start getting married immediately. 

One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs told the Alaska Dispatch News: "We're completely overjoyed," adding "It's been a long time coming. It's justice and equality in Alaska."

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to look at same-sex marriage cases from Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Indiana which essentially allowed lower court rulings against bans on gay marriage to stand.

The Alaska ruling could still be appealed and sent to the same court that overturned the bans from the other five states.