Legislature(2005 - 2006)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/09/2006 09:00 AM FINANCE

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09:06:07 AM Start
09:06:38 AM SJR 20
11:01:00 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
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                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                  
                         March 9, 2006                                                                                        
                           9:06 a.m.                                                                                          
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
Co-Chair Lyda Green convened the meeting at approximately                                                                       
9:06:07 AM.                                                                                                                   
Senator Lyda Green, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Gary Wilken, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Con Bunde, Vice Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Also Attending:  SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS                                                                                        
Testifiers are identified in the body of the minutes.                                                                           
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
SJR 20-CONST. AM: BENEFITS & MARRIAGE                                                                                           
The Committee heard from the sponsor, a consultant and took                                                                     
public testimony. The resolution was held in Committee.                                                                         
9:06:38 AM                                                                                                                    
     SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 20                                                                                             
     Proposing an amendment to the section of the Constitution                                                                  
     of the State of Alaska relating to marriage.                                                                               
This was the first hearing for this resolution in the Senate                                                                    
Finance Committee.                                                                                                              
9:07:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS, sponsor of  the resolution, testified this                                                               
resolution would allow Alaskans  to address the fundamental issue                                                               
of  marriage.  The  rulings  of  several  court  cases  challenge                                                               
Alaska's right to  limit marriage to a union between  one man and                                                               
one  woman. The  legislature had  believed that  this matter  was                                                               
settled in  1996 with the passage  of an amendment to  the Alaska                                                               
Constitution,  commonly referred  to as  the Defense  of Marriage                                                               
Act.  However, the  court cases  have challenged  the issue.  The                                                               
most recent was a decision rendered  in October 2005 in which the                                                               
court  held  that the  marriage  amendment  did not  specifically                                                               
address limits of benefits.                                                                                                     
Senator  Seekins   ascertained  that   to  many   Alaskans,  that                                                               
reasoning  conflicts with  their understanding  of their  vote on                                                               
the  1996 constitutional  amendment. None  had believed  that the                                                               
amendment would  provide that spousal benefits  would be extended                                                               
to couples not legally married.                                                                                                 
Senator Seekins  reported that a  substantial number  of Alaskans                                                               
have requested that their original  vote be clarified. This right                                                               
belongs to the people.                                                                                                          
Senator  Seekins explained  that  this  resolution would  provide                                                               
that  to  receive spousal  benefits,  a  couple must  be  legally                                                               
9:12:25 AM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN CLARKSON,  Attorney retained  by Legislative  Counsel, made                                                               
the following  presentation to  the Committee.  [Note: A  copy of                                                               
the testimony is on file,  which contains materials referenced in                                                               
footnote format.]                                                                                                               
     I  would  like to  thank  the  Co-Chairs of  the  Committee,                                                               
     Senator  Green and  Senator Wilken,  the Vice  Chair of  the                                                               
     Committee, Senator Bunde, and  the members of the Committee,                                                               
     Senators  Dyson,  Hoffman,  Olson,   and  Stedman,  for  the                                                               
     opportunity  to speak  today regarding  SJR  20, a  proposed                                                               
     amendment  to  the  Alaska   Constitution  to  preserve  the                                                               
     attributes, benefits  and privileges of marriage  to married                                                               
     By way of  introduction, I was legal counsel  for the Alaska                                                               
     Legislature  in 1998  in the  legal action  that related  to                                                               
     whether the  Marriage Amendment, Art.  I, Section 25  of the                                                               
     Alaska Constitution,  would remain on the  general ballot so                                                               
     that the  People of Alaska could  vote to ratify it.  I also                                                               
     represented the Alaska Legislature  in the original same-sex                                                               
     marriage case itself, and I  was one of the primary drafters                                                               
     of the Marriage Amendment.                                                                                                 
     HISTORICAL BACKGROUND                                                                                                      
     In  order to  understand the  significance of  SJR 20  it is                                                               
     essential to understand the history  that has lead up to its                                                               
     introduction  in  the  Legislature at  this  time.  Relevant                                                               
     history includes  events in the United  States Congress, the                                                               
     Lower forty-eight states, and also in Alaska.                                                                              
     I. The Federal Defense of Marriage Act                                                                                     
     In 1996,  Congress adopted the  federal Defense  of Marriage                                                               
     Act  (DOMA). Pub.  L.  104-199, 100  Stat.  2419 (Sept.  21,                                                               
     1996).  Congress  passed  DOMA  because  of  a  decades-long                                                               
     assault  that had  been made  in various  courts challenging                                                               
     the  definition  and   constitutionality  of  marriage,  and                                                               
     particularly  in response  to a  Hawaii court  decision that                                                               
     suggested there might  be a right to  same-sex "marriage" in                                                               
     the  Hawaii Constitution.  The legislative  history of  DOMA                                                               
     reflects  a  congressional  concern about  the  effect  that                                                               
     legalizing  same-sex  "marriage"  in Hawaii  would  have  on                                                               
     other  states, federal  laws, the  institution of  marriage,                                                               
     traditional  notions  of  morality, and  state  sovereignty.                                                               
     H.R.  Rep. No.  104-664 at  1-18 (1996),  reprinted in  1996                                                               
     U.S.C.C.A.N. 2905-23.  DOMA has  two sections,  one defining                                                               
     "marriage"  for  purposes  of federal  law,  and  the  other                                                               
     affirming federalism principles  under the authority granted                                                               
     by  Article IV,  Section  1 of  the  Constitution, the  Full                                                               
     Faith and Credit  Clause. The first section  states that for                                                               
     purposes  of  federal  law, marriage  means  a  legal  union                                                               
     between a man and a woman.                                                                                                 
          In determining the  meaning of any Act  of Congress, or                                                               
          of  any ruling,  regulation, or  interpretation of  the                                                               
          various  administrative  bureaus  and agencies  of  the                                                               
          United  States, the  word marriage  means only  a legal                                                               
          union  between one  man and  one woman  as husband  and                                                               
          wife, and  the word spouse  refers only to a  person of                                                               
          the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.                                                                          
     Pub.  L. 104-199,  sec 1,  100 Stat.  2419 (Sep.  21, 1996),                                                               
     codified  at   1  U.S.C.  7   (1997).  The   second  section                                                               
     reaffirmed  the  power  of  the states  to  make  their  own                                                               
     decisions about marriage:                                                                                                  
          No  State,  territory,  or  possession  of  the  United                                                               
          States,  or Indian  tribe, shall  be  required to  give                                                               
          effect  to   any  public   act,  record,   or  judicial                                                               
          proceeding of  any other State,  territory, possession,                                                               
          or tribe  respecting a relationship between  persons of                                                               
          the same  sex that is  treated as a marriage  under the                                                               
          laws  of such  other State,  territory, possession,  or                                                               
          tribe,  or   a  right   or  claim  arising   from  such                                                               
     Pub.  L. 104-199  sec. 2,  100 Stat.  2419 (Sep.  21, 1996),                                                               
     codified at 28 U.S.C. 1738C (1997).                                                                                        
     By way  of DOMA,  all of  the various  attributes, benefits,                                                               
     and privileges of  marriage that are created  or assigned by                                                               
     federal  law,   are  assigned  or   provided  only   to  (1)                                                               
     "marriages," which are limited  to only legal unions between                                                               
     one  man  and  one  woman   as  husband  and  wife  and  (2)                                                               
     "spouses," which is defined as  a person of the opposite sex                                                               
     who is a husband or a  wife. None of the various attributes,                                                               
     benefits  and/or privileges  of  marriage  that exist  under                                                               
     federal law are available  to any unmarried couples, whether                                                               
     same-sex or opposite sex.                                                                                                  
     II. The Alaska Marriage Amendment                                                                                          
     The  Alaska  Marriage Amendment,  Art.  I.  Section 25,  was                                                               
     ratified by  the People, on  a vote of 68%-32%  in November,                                                               
     1998. The Alaska Marriage Amendment  can be said to have its                                                               
     origin  in reaction  to a  specific  judicial decision.  The                                                               
     Marriage Amendment  was ratified  in response to  a decision                                                               
     by a state  superior court judge in a case  called Brause v.                                                               
     Bureau  of Vital  Statistics, 1998  WL 88743  (Alaska Super.                                                               
     Ct. 1998).  On February 28,  1998 this superior  court judge                                                               
     ruled that  the Alaska  Constitution provided  a fundamental                                                               
     right to marry someone of the same sex.                                                                                    
     A. The Evolution of Alaska's Marriage Statute                                                                              
     The origin of Alaska's marriage  statute, AS 25.05.011, is a                                                               
     territorial law:  "Marriage is  a civil contract,  which may                                                               
     be entered  into by  males of the  age of  twenty-one years,                                                               
     and females of  the age of eighteen  years." After statehood                                                               
     in 1959,  this law was  slightly revised to  read: "Marriage                                                               
     is   a  civil   contract  requiring   both  a   license  and                                                               
     solemnization which may be entered into  by a male who is 21                                                               
     years of age or  older with a female who is  18 years of age                                                               
     or older." In 1970, the  statute was modified to reduce from                                                               
     "21" to "19" the age at which  a man could marry. Up to this                                                               
     point in  time Alaska's marriage statute  clearly restricted                                                               
     marriage to one man and one woman.                                                                                         
     Something  very  interesting,   and  also  very  unintended,                                                               
     occurred in  1974. The Alaska  Revisor of Statutes  set upon                                                               
     the task of rendering  Alaska's Statutes "gender neutral" in                                                               
     language and in the  process made two unintended substantive                                                               
     changes to the  marriage statute, one clear  and express and                                                               
     the  other implicit.  The express  substantive change  which                                                               
     the  Revisor of  Statute's made  was  to change  the age  of                                                               
     permissible  marriage  for both  genders  to  "19" from  the                                                               
     previous  "19"  for  men  and "18"  for  women.  The  second                                                               
     substantive change,  which was  only implicit in  effect was                                                               
     to eliminate  the words "man"  and "woman" from  the statute                                                               
     and  insert the  word "person"  in their  place. While  this                                                               
     "gender  neutrality"  goal  may   have  seemed  "noble"  and                                                               
     "appropriate"  in   the  context  of  the   codification  of                                                               
     Alaska's statutes,  from the  standpoint of  the substantive                                                               
     meaning  and  effect of  the  marriage  law the  result  was                                                               
     drastic.  By eliminating  the words  "man" and  "woman" from                                                               
     the   marriage  statute   the  Revisor's   "gender  neutral"                                                               
     language had the appearance  of changing Alaska's definition                                                               
     of marriage to a civil  contract which could be entered into                                                               
     between any two "persons"  (presumably of any combination of                                                               
     either gender) age 19 years or older.                                                                                      
     The statute  was again  modified in 1975,  this time  by the                                                               
     Alaska  Legislature  itself,  to  reduce the  legal  age  of                                                               
     marriage to "18" for both  men and women. Apparently unaware                                                               
     of the  prior apparent  substantive change,  the Legislature                                                               
     retained   the  "gender   neutral"   language  without   the                                                               
     slightest comment.  The marriage statute  remained unchanged                                                               
     and unchallenged in  this form for the  next twenty-one (21)                                                               
     years until 1996.                                                                                                          
     B. Related Gay Rights Controversies                                                                                        
     Previous  to  the  Marriage Amendment  drama,  a  number  of                                                               
     controversies  regarding  similar  issues had  already  been                                                               
     played  out in  Alaska.  The earliest  case  was decided  in                                                               
     1978. In 1976,  the mayor of Anchorage deleted  from a draft                                                               
     of the 1976-77 Anchorage Blue  Book, reference to the Alaska                                                               
     Gay  Coalition.  The  Coalition subsequently  sued  claiming                                                               
     their  First  Amendment  speech  rights  had  been  violated                                                               
     because they  were not  allowed to  access the  public forum                                                               
     created  by  the Blue  Book.  The  superior court  initially                                                               
     granted  the Coalition  a  temporary injunction  prohibiting                                                               
     distribution  of the  Blue Book,  but later  decided against                                                               
     the  Coalition  after  a trial.  The  Alaska  Supreme  Court                                                               
     reversed, holding that the Blue  Book was a public forum and                                                               
     that  the  mayor had  improperly  denied  the Coalition  its                                                               
     First  Amendment  rights  because   of  disapproval  of  the                                                               
     Coalition's  aims  by  not  allowing  their  message  to  be                                                               
     printed in it.                                                                                                             
     A few  years later,  the issue  of "sexual  orientation" was                                                               
     raised in  a family  law setting. In  S.N.E. v.  R.L.B.11, a                                                               
     father sough to have the custody  of his child changed so as                                                               
     to give him custody. The  father alleged that the mother was                                                               
     a lesbian  and that  the child's best  interests, therefore,                                                               
     demanded that he be the  primary custodian of the child. The                                                               
     superior court ruled  in favor of the father  and the mother                                                               
     appealed. The  Alaska Supreme  Court reversed,  holding that                                                               
     that  there was  no  evidence that  the mother's  lesbianism                                                               
     "has or  is likely to  affect the child adversely"  and that                                                               
     any perceived  stigma on the  child because of  the mother's                                                               
     lifestyle could not justify a change of custody.                                                                           
     In  January 1993,  the Anchorage  City  Assembly enacted  an                                                               
     ordinance  that   banned  discrimination  based   on  sexual                                                               
     orientation in public employment over  the veto of Mayor Tom                                                               
     Fink.  A  group called  Citizens  to  Repeal the  Homosexual                                                               
     Ordinance immediately  began collecting  petition signatures                                                               
     to  subject the  matter to  a vote  in the  April elections.                                                               
     Within a month, the  group submitted 20,000 signatures, even                                                               
     though only  5,700 were needed.  The city  clerked certified                                                               
     the initiative and  a group of plaintiffs  sued to challenge                                                               
     the  certification. The  superior court  denied a  stay, but                                                               
     that  decision was  appealed to  the  Alaska Supreme  Court,                                                               
     which  granted the  stay on  April 14,  1993. Following  the                                                               
     stay,  the   superior  court  found  that   the  "referendum                                                               
     petition presented  the ordinance  in a biased  and partisan                                                               
     light"  because  its  title read:  "Referendum  Petition  to                                                               
     Repeal  a Special  Homosexual  Ordinance."  Focusing on  the                                                               
     disagreement   between   the   ordinance's   opponents   and                                                               
     supporters  about  whether  or  not  the  ordinance  granted                                                               
     "special   rights"  the   superior  court   held  that   the                                                               
     petition's  characterization was  misleading because  of its                                                               
     partisanship.   The   Alaska   Supreme   Court   took   this                                                               
     characterization  as  accurate   and  held  that  inaccurate                                                               
     referendum  petitions  are  not  "legally  acceptable."  The                                                               
     basis  for this  decision  was the  court's  belief that  an                                                               
     inaccurate   petition  undercuts   the  screening   function                                                               
     provided by the requirement  that a referendum petition have                                                               
     a certain  number of signatures  to be certified.  Thus, the                                                               
     Alaska  Supreme  Court  invalidated  the  petition  and  the                                                               
     ballot initiative was not the subject of a vote.                                                                           
     Just a year  before the marriage amendment  was adopted, the                                                               
     Alaska Supreme  Court heard a  case involving  two employees                                                               
     of the University of Alaska  who wanted health insurance for                                                               
     their  same-sex  partners.   The  employees  challenged  the                                                               
     University's decision  not to extend the  benefits, claiming                                                               
     a violation of  the state Human Rights  Act's prohibition of                                                               
     marital status  discrimination. The superior court  ruled in                                                               
     favor of the  plaintiffs and held that  the University would                                                               
     have  to  either  stop offering  benefits  for  spouses,  or                                                               
     provide benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. The                                                                
     University chose to offer the  benefits. While the appeal of                                                               
     the  superior  court's  decision  was  pending,  the  Alaska                                                               
     Legislature amended  the state  discrimination law  to allow                                                               
     employers  to offer  different  benefits  to employees  with                                                               
     spouses  and  children  than those  without.  Thus,  at  the                                                               
     conclusion  of the  appeal, the  Alaska Supreme  Court could                                                               
     only rule that the University had violated the pre-                                                                        
     amendment act.                                                                                                             
     Each of  these decisions  contributed to the  highly charged                                                               
     atmosphere   in   which   Alaska's  marriage   statute   was                                                               
     challenged in the Brause case.                                                                                             
     C. Alaska's Defense of Marriage Act                                                                                        
     As  referenced above,  in  early 1995,  in  addition to  the                                                             
     Brause litigation  filed in superior court  in Anchorage and                                                               
     discussed below, which  challenged the traditional opposite-                                                               
     sex  definition  of marriage,  a  separate  action filed  in                                                               
     Superior  Court in  Fairbanks challenged  the University  of                                                               
     Alaska   Fairbanks'   ("UAF")  policies   limiting   spousal                                                               
     benefits  to  the  "husbands"  or  "wives"  of  its  married                                                               
     employees. A superior  court judge in Fairbanks  set loose a                                                               
     firestorm when  she ruled that  UAF could not  legally limit                                                               
     spousal  benefits  to  traditional "husbands"  and  "wives,"                                                               
     basing her  decision in part  upon the Revisor  of Statutes'                                                               
     1974 bill  and Senate  Judiciary Committee  "gender neutral"                                                               
     amendment,  tinkering with  the  marriage statute  so as  to                                                               
     eliminate the  words "man" and  "woman" from  the definition                                                               
     of  marriage and  defining "marriage"  as  a civil  contract                                                               
     between two "persons."                                                                                                     
     Suddenly at that  time, the Alaska Legislature  was aware of                                                               
     the potential substantive change (and  to at least a portion                                                               
     of  the Alaska  Judiciary  a very  real substantive  change)                                                               
     which  had been  made  to the  marriage  statute. In  March,                                                               
     1995, Representative  Norman Rokeberg introduced  House Bill                                                               
     227,  which  was  designed  to  amend  the  Alaska  marriage                                                               
     statute to specify  that (1) only one man and  one woman can                                                               
     legally marry  in Alaska, and  (2) no  out-of-state marriage                                                               
     between individuals  of the same-sex would  be recognized as                                                               
     valid  in Alaska.  At about  the  same time,  Representative                                                               
     Pete Kelly introduced HB 226  proposing very similar changes                                                               
     to the Alaska marriage statute.                                                                                            
     When asked  for its  comments regarding  HB 227,  the Alaska                                                               
     Department of  Law offered the opinion  that the legislation                                                               
     was  unnecessary. Assistant  Attorney  General John  Gaguine                                                               
     offered the  Department of  Law's opinion  to Representative                                                               
     Rokeberg to the  effect that the Alaska  Supreme Court would                                                               
     most likely  find that  the 1974  revisions to  the marriage                                                               
     statute  were  not  intended  to  allow  legalized  same-sex                                                               
     marriage.  Mr. Gaguine  explained  that  oddly enough,  this                                                               
     event was not unique to Alaska.  Prior to 1970, the State of                                                               
     Washington's marriage statute  (RCW 26.04.010) provided that                                                               
     only "males" and "females" could  marry each other. In 1970,                                                               
     however, Washington's  marriage statute was amended  to make                                                               
     the age of consent for marriage the same for both genders,                                                                 
     and in these  same changes (just as had  occurred in Alaska)                                                               
     the words  "male" and "female" were  eliminated and replaced                                                               
     with the word "persons."                                                                                                   
     Mr. Gaguine  explained that the Washington  Court of Appeals                                                               
     had  been required  to review  the  changes to  Washington's                                                               
     marriage statute  in 1974 in  a case called Singer  v. Hara,                                                               
     and  in  that  case  concluded that  the  changes  were  not                                                               
     intended  to  allow  same-sex  marriage.  In  reaching  this                                                               
     conclusion the  Washington Court of Appeals  noted that 1972                                                               
     changes   to  Washington's   community  property   laws  had                                                               
     retained  references  to  "husband" and  "wife,"  therefore,                                                               
     indicating   a  lack   of   intention   by  the   Washington                                                               
     Legislature to allow same-sex marriage.                                                                                    
     Mr.  Gaguine also  explained that  Courts from  other states                                                               
     and  jurisdictions  in  addition   to  Washington  had  also                                                               
     concluded  that same-sex  marriages were  not authorized  by                                                               
     "gender neutral" language changes  to marriage statutes. The                                                               
     courts  in these  cases decided  the  question presented  to                                                               
     them regarding  same-sex marriage  upon the simple  basis of                                                               
     reviewing  the  dictionary  definition of  "marriage"  which                                                               
     refers to  a relationship between  a "man" and a  "woman" or                                                               
     between members  of "opposite sexes."  To these  courts, the                                                               
     simple use of the word  "marriage" and nothing more signaled                                                               
     legislative intent  to limit the marriage  relationship to a                                                               
     contract between one man and one woman.                                                                                    
     In light of  the superior court's ruling  in Tumeo, however,                                                               
     the  Alaska Legislature  was not  willing to  simply entrust                                                               
     the marriage statutes to  the Alaska Judiciary. Accordingly,                                                               
     the Legislature  went forward with  its proposed  changes to                                                               
     the marriage  statutes. The changes had  two ultimate goals:                                                               
     (1)  to   clearly  provide  that   for  purposes   of  legal                                                               
     recognition and status, marriage  in Alaska could only exist                                                               
     between one  man and one  woman; and (2) to  clearly prevent                                                               
     any  same-sex   marriage,  which  might  at   some  time  be                                                               
     recognized  as  valid  in  another   state  (at  that  time,                                                               
     potentially  Hawaii), from  receiving the  legal status  and                                                               
     recognition  of  marriage  in   Alaska  simply  because  the                                                               
     participants in that possible  same-sex marriage moved their                                                               
     residence to Alaska.                                                                                                       
     As finally amended, the Alaska  marriage statutes provide as                                                               
     follows: "Marriage is a civil  contract entered into between                                                               
     one man and one woman that requires both a license and                                                                     
     D. The Brause v. Bureau of Vital Statistics Case                                                                           
     The  Plaintiffs in  the  Brause case  sought  marriage as  a                                                               
     doorway to the benefits and  privileges that the law bestows                                                               
     upon  married  couples.  The  Plaintiffs  in  Brause  argued                                                               
     repeatedly that  there are some 115  benefits and privileges                                                               
     available to  married couples under  Alaska law,  which they                                                               
     could not  access. The  Plaintiffs in  Brause sought  to use                                                               
     the  status of  marriage as  a doorway  by which  they could                                                               
     access the various benefits and  privileges of marriage, and                                                               
     attach  them  to their  same  sex  relationship. The  Brause                                                               
     litigation treated  marital status  and marital  benefits as                                                               
     being  inseparable. In  Brause  the Plaintiffs  specifically                                                               
     sought  benefits  based  on marital  status.  In  fact,  the                                                               
     superior  court's ruling  in Brause  treated marital  status                                                               
     and  benefits  as  being inseparable.  "Once  married,"  the                                                               
     superior  court  noted,  "the state  provides  benefits  and                                                               
     imposes duties that are significant  and valuable to society                                                               
     as  well as  to  the individual  members  of the  marriage."                                                               
     Brause, 1998 WL 88743 at *  2. Put another way, the superior                                                               
     court's ruling  treated the benefits, privileges  and duties                                                               
     of  marriage  as  being  entirely  consequent  upon  marital                                                               
     The  Marriage   Amendment  presupposed  this   context.  The                                                               
     Marriage  Amendment  was   specifically  designed  to  close                                                               
     marital status  as a doorway  by which same-sex  couples, or                                                               
     any combination of opposite sex  individuals other than "one                                                               
     man  and   one  woman,"   might  access  the   benefits  and                                                               
     privileges  of marriage.  The Marriage  Amendment as  it was                                                               
     originally  introduced   in  the   Legislature  as   SJR  42                                                               
     contained three sentences:                                                                                                 
          To be  valid or  recognized in  this State,  a marriage                                                               
          may  exist  only between  one  man  and one  woman.  No                                                               
          provision of  this Constitution  may be  interpreted to                                                               
          require  the  State  to recognize  or  permit  marriage                                                               
          between  individuals   of  the  same   sex.  Additional                                                               
          requirements related to marriage  may be established to                                                               
          the extent permitted by the  Constitution of the United                                                               
          States and the Constitution of the State of Alaska.                                                                   
     The third sentence of the  Marriage Amendment was dropped by                                                               
     the Legislature during the legislative process.                                                                            
     Before the popular  vote, a group of  citizens including the                                                               
     Alaska    Civil     Liberties    Union     challenged    the                                                               
     constitutionality of the proposed  amendment in two actions.                                                               
     Bess  v. Ulmer,  Case No.  3AN-98-7776 Civil  (Alaska Super.                                                               
     Ct. 1998);  and Dodd  v. Ulmer,  Case No.  3AN-98-8114 Civil                                                               
     (Alaska  Super.   Ct.  1998).   The  Alaska   Supreme  Court                                                               
     consolidated the cases and then  in its decision allowed the                                                               
     Amendment to proceed to a  vote, with one change. The Alaska                                                               
     Supreme  Court,  rightly  or  wrongly,  deleted  the  second                                                               
     sentence of the Marriage  Amendment because the Court viewed                                                               
     the sentence as being "superfluous."  See Bess v. Ulmer, 985                                                               
     P.2d 979, 995 (Alaska 1999).                                                                                               
     The first  sentence of the Marriage  Amendment was presented                                                               
     to  the  People  of  Alaska  for  ratification  and  it  was                                                               
     ratified  by a  vote of  68%-32%. See  Liz Ruskin,  Limit on                                                               
     Marriage   Passes  in   Landslide,  Anchorage   Daily  News,                                                               
     November 4, 1998, § A, p. 1.                                                                                               
     Following  ratification  of   the  Marriage  Amendment,  the                                                               
     Brause  case  did not  end.  Confirming  that their  primary                                                               
     focus in that case was  the benefits and privileges that are                                                               
     attached to  marriage and not  marriage itself as  a status,                                                               
     the Plaintiffs in Brause continued  their quest in that case                                                               
     to  receive  the  115  benefits   and  privileges  that  are                                                               
     attached  to  marriage.  Because marriage  status  had  been                                                               
     foreclosed to  them by  way of  the Marriage  Amendment, the                                                               
     Brause Plaintiffs sought  to require the State  to give them                                                               
     all of  the various  attributes, benefits and  privileges of                                                               
     marriage outside of marriage.  The Brause Plaintiffs' claims                                                               
     were dismissed,  however, because their claims  for marriage                                                               
     benefits and privileges were not  ripe. See Brause v. Bureau                                                               
     of Vital Statistics, 21 P.3d 357, 358 (Alaska 2001).                                                                       
     III. The ACLU v. State Case                                                                                                
     Another case,  the ACLU v.  State litigation,  began shortly                                                               
     after  the  Marriage Amendment  was  ratified.  In this  new                                                               
     case,  the ACLU  and eighteen  individuals who  alleged that                                                               
     they  comprised  nine  lesbian  or  gay  couples  (hereafter                                                               
     referred to  collectively as "the ACLU")  filed suit against                                                               
     the State of  Alaska and the Municipality  of Anchorage. The                                                               
     ACLU  complained   that  the  state  and   the  municipality                                                               
     maintained  employee benefits  programs that  offer valuable                                                               
     benefits to  their employee's spouses  that are  not offered                                                               
     to the  same sex partners  of lesbian and gay  employees. In                                                               
     other words, the ACLU argued  to the effect that when nearly                                                               
     seventy  percent  of Alaskans  voted  to  ratify the  Alaska                                                               
     Marriage Amendment they voted  to command government to give                                                               
     marriage benefits to same sex  couples, just as if they were                                                               
     married.  The ACLU  also argued  that  those same  Alaskans'                                                               
     vote was part of  an invidious discriminatory scheme against                                                               
     lesbian and gay  people. According to the  ACLU, because the                                                               
     Marriage  Amendment  was created  as  part  of an  invidious                                                               
     discriminatory scheme, and because  it foreclosed the option                                                               
     of  marriage to  same sex  couples, the  Alaska Constitution                                                               
     had to  be interpreted to  command government to  treat same                                                               
     sex couples  just as if  they were married. The  ACLU argued                                                               
     that  public employees  with same  sex  partners were  being                                                               
     singled  out   and  treated   differently  due   to  "sexual                                                               
     orientation"  or  "gender,"   because  unlike  an  unmarried                                                               
     male/female couple  who can  choose to  get married  if they                                                               
     want to, the same sex  couple "can't get married." And thus,                                                               
     the Amendment  that was designed  to end  the constitutional                                                               
     debate in  Alaska over same  sex marriage, became  the force                                                               
     of the claim that same sex  couples must be treated "just as                                                               
     if  they  are  married,"  even though  they  are  not.  Most                                                               
     Alaskan's heads were spinning upon hearing this argument.                                                                  
     The state  superior court dismissed  the ACLU's  claims. See                                                               
     ACLU v. State, 3AN-99-11179  Civil (Alaska Super. Ct. 1999).                                                               
     The superior court reasoned that  public employees with same                                                               
     sex partners  are denied marriage  benefits, not  because of                                                               
     their  sexual  orientation  or  their  gender,  but  instead                                                               
     simply  because they  are not  married. The  court concluded                                                               
     that  no sexual  orientation discrimination  existed because                                                               
     same  sex couples  are  treated exactly  the  same as  every                                                               
     unmarried heterosexual  couple, who also do  not qualify for                                                               
     marital  benefits.  Finally,  the superior  court  concluded                                                               
     that no gender discrimination  existed because men and women                                                               
     equally  receive marital  benefits  for  their spouses.  The                                                               
     ACLU appealed  to the  Alaska Supreme  Court and  on October                                                               
     28,  2005 the  Supreme Court  reversed the  superior court's                                                               
     decision. ACLU v. State, 122 P.3d 781 (Alaska 2005).                                                                       
     The  State of  Alaska, Department  of Law,  argued that  the                                                               
     Marriage  Amendment foreclosed  the  ACLU's  claim that  the                                                               
     Alaska  Constitution  mandated  the  extension  of  marriage                                                               
     benefits and privileges to  unmarried same-sex partners. The                                                               
     Alaska Supreme  Court rejected  the State's  argument. ACLU,                                                               
     122 P.3d at 786-87. The Court reasoned that:                                                                               
          The  Marriage  Amendment  could   have  the  effect  of                                                               
          foreclosing the  present challenge only if  it could be                                                               
          read  to   prohibit  public  employees   from  offering                                                               
          benefits   to   their  employees'   same-sex   domestic                                                               
          partners.  ...That the  Marriage Amendment  effectively                                                               
          prevents  same-sex  couples   from  marrying  does  not                                                               
          automatically  permit  the  government  to  treat  them                                                               
          differently in other ways.                                                                                            
     Id.  Because the  Marriage Amendment  did not  foreclose the                                                             
     legislative  and  executive   branches  of  government  from                                                               
     voluntarily  choosing   to  extend  benefits  to   same  sex                                                               
     partners, the  Court concluded  that the  Marriage Amendment                                                               
     stood  as no  barrier to  the ACLU's  claim that  the Alaska                                                               
     Constitution   commanded  the   legislative  and   executive                                                               
     branches  of  government  to extend  benefits  to  same  sex                                                               
     partners. Interestingly,  the Court did not  address another                                                               
     possible  interpretation of  the  Marriage Amendment,  which                                                               
     would have  simply construed the Amendment  to foreclose any                                                               
     judicially  commanded  extension  of marriage  benefits  and                                                               
     privileges to unmarried same-sex  couples under the guise of                                                               
     constitutional interpretation. Id.                                                                                       
     The Court,  like the  ACLU, used  the Marriage  Amendment as                                                               
     the  driving   force  for  its  decision   that  the  Alaska                                                               
     Constitution  commands government  to  treat unmarried  same                                                               
     sex couples  just as if  they are married, even  though they                                                               
     are not. Id. at 787-88. The Court explained:                                                                             
          We agree  with the [ACLU]...that the  proper comparison                                                               
          is between  same-sex couples and opposite  sex couples,                                                               
          whether  or  not  they are  married.  The  municipality                                                               
          correctly   observes  that   no  unmarried   employees,                                                               
          whether they  are members  of same-sex  or opposite-sex                                                               
          couples,  can obtain  the disputed  benefits for  their                                                               
          domestic partners.  But this  does not mean  that these                                                               
          programs  treat same-sex  and opposite-sex  couples the                                                               
          same.  Unmarried   public  employees   in  opposite-sex                                                               
          domestic relationships  have the opportunity  to obtain                                                               
          these benefits, because employees  are not prevented by                                                               
          law   from   marrying   their   opposite-sex   domestic                                                               
          partners. In comparison,  public employees in committed                                                               
          same-sex  relationships   are  absolutely   denied  any                                                               
          opportunity  to  obtain  these benefits  because  these                                                               
          employees are  barred by law from  marrying their same-                                                               
          sex  partners   in  Alaska   or  having   any  marriage                                                               
          performed  elsewhere  recognized  in  Alaska.  Same-sex                                                               
          unmarried couples  therefore have  no way  of obtaining                                                               
          these benefits, whereas  opposite-sex unmarried couples                                                               
          may become eligible for them  by marrying. The programs                                                               
          consequently  treat same-sex  couples differently  from                                                               
          opposite-sex couples.                                                                                                 
     Id.  at  788.  In  other words,  the  governments'  employee                                                             
     benefits   programs  that   denied   marriage  benefits   to                                                               
     unmarried same-sex couples were  discriminatory, and thus in                                                               
     violation  of  the Equal  Protection  Clause  of the  Alaska                                                               
     Constitution,   only   because    the   Marriage   Amendment                                                               
     forecloses marriage to same-sex couples.                                                                                   
     Put another way, according to  the Alaska Supreme Court, the                                                               
     Marriage Amendment required the  Court to command government                                                               
     to extend marriage benefits  to unmarried same-sex partners.                                                               
     Id.  The  Court  put  this very  conclusion  into  words  in                                                             
     footnote 38 of its Opinion:                                                                                                
          We   recognize  that   the  benefits   programs  became                                                               
          discriminatory  only  after  the legislature  acted  in                                                               
          1996 and  1998 and the electorate  adopted the Marriage                                                               
          Amendment in 1998.                                                                                                    
     Id. at 789 n. 38.  Thus, apparently, according to the Alaska                                                             
     Supreme  Court, when  68% of  Alaskans voted  to ratify  the                                                               
     Marriage Amendment in 1998 they  voted to command government                                                               
     to  treat unmarried  same-sex couples  just as  if they  are                                                               
     married, even though they are not.                                                                                         
     IV. Future Impacts of ACLU v. State                                                                                        
     A. All  of the Benefits  and Privileges of Marriage  Will Be                                                               
     Required to Be Given to Same Sex Relationships                                                                             
     Although   ACLU   v.   State  technically   addresses   only                                                               
     employment  benefits in  the context  of public  employment,                                                               
     State,  Borough, or  Municipal, the  impact of  the decision                                                               
     stretches  much further.  Based upon  the logic  of ACLU  v.                                                               
     State,  virtually every  distinction that  exists in  Alaska                                                               
     law and public policy  between married couples and unmarried                                                               
     same-sex  partners   will  eventually   fall  to   an  equal                                                               
     protection  challenge under  the Alaska  Constitution. There                                                               
     is no  logical basis upon  which to  limit the reach  of the                                                               
     ACLU  v.   State  decision   to  simply   public  employment                                                               
     benefits. Effectively, the Alaska  Supreme Court decision is                                                               
     a first step in the direction of constitutionally mandated                                                                 
     domestic  partnerships in  Alaska just  as was  imposed upon                                                               
     the State of  Vermont by the Vermont Supreme  Court in Baker                                                               
     v. State, 744 A2d 864, 886-89 (Vt 1999).                                                                                   
     If  Alaska Supreme  Court believes  that unmarried  same-sex                                                               
     partners   are   unconstitutionally  discriminated   against                                                               
     because the  government denies them the  employment benefits                                                               
     that are  extended to  married men and  women, it  appears a                                                               
     foregone  conclusion that  the Court  will believe  that the                                                               
     state  unconstitutionally   discriminates  against  same-sex                                                               
     partners when  it denies them other  benefits and privileges                                                               
     of marriage, including, but not  necessarily limited to, (1)                                                               
     the right of intestate succession;  (2) the privilege of not                                                               
     being required  to testify against  a spouse; (3)  the right                                                               
     to receive workers' compensation benefits  on the death of a                                                               
     partner; (4) the  right to maintain a legal  action for loss                                                               
     of consortium, or  a wrongful death action for  the death of                                                               
     a partner; and/or  (5) the right to  receive spousal support                                                               
     on the dissolution of a relationship.                                                                                      
     B. Private  Employers must Extend  Marriage Benefits  to the                                                               
     Same Sex Partners of Their Employees                                                                                       
     It is  not a correct  statement that  the impact of  ACLU v.                                                               
     State  will   be  felt  only   in  the  context   of  public                                                               
     employment. The logic of the  ACLU v. State decision reaches                                                               
     into private employment as well  as public employment. Under                                                               
     Alaska  law,  every   private  employment  contract  between                                                               
     employer and  employee contains an implied  covenant of good                                                               
     faith  and  fair  dealing.   Charles  v.  Interior  Regional                                                               
     Housing Auth., 55  P.3d 57, 62 n. 29  (Alaska 2002); Holland                                                               
     v. Union Oil  Co. of Ca., Inc., 993 P.2d  1026, 1032 (Alaska                                                               
     2000); Belluomini  v. Fred Meyer  of Alaska, Inc,,  993 P.2d                                                               
     1009,  1012-13 (Alaska  1999). One  of the  things that  the                                                               
     implied covenant of good faith  and fair dealing requires is                                                               
     that  employers treat  "like employees  alike." Charles,  55                                                               
     P.3d at  62 n. 29;  Holland, 993  P.2d at 1032;  Fred Meyer,                                                               
     993 P.2d  at 1012-13.  The legal  concept of  treating "like                                                               
     employees  alike"  is  much akin  to  the  equal  protection                                                               
     concept  of not  discriminating between  "similarly situated                                                               
     individuals."  Thus,  it requires  no  stretch  of logic  to                                                               
     predict that the  Alaska Supreme Court will  conclude that a                                                               
     private  employer  violates  the implied  covenant  of  good                                                               
     faith and  fair dealing  when that private  employer extends                                                               
     employment benefits to the spouses  of its married employees                                                               
     but  not to  the  same-sex  partners of  its  "like" gay  or                                                               
     lesbian employees.                                                                                                         
     V. SJR 20                                                                                                                  
     SJR  20  is designed  to  allow  the  People of  Alaska  the                                                               
     opportunity to  address the ACLU  v. State decision.  SJR 20                                                               
     is also  designed to  allow the People  of Alaska  to decide                                                               
     whether  they  agree or  disagree  with  the Alaska  Supreme                                                               
     Court's  interpretation of  the  meaning and  effect of  the                                                               
     Marriage Amendment.  SJR 20 would  add a second  sentence to                                                               
     Art. I, Section 25 that would state:                                                                                       
          No  other union  is  similarly situated  to a  marriage                                                               
          between a  man and a  woman and, therefore,  a marriage                                                               
          between a man and a woman  is the only union that shall                                                               
          be valid or  recognized in this state and  to which the                                                               
          rights,  benefits, obligations,  qualities, or  effects                                                               
          of marriage shall be extended or assigned.                                                                            
     The  first phrase  of SJR  20 is  designed to  eliminate the                                                               
     fundamental  basis for  any equal  protection claim,  in any                                                               
     context, that involves an effort  to compare married couples                                                               
     to unmarried  same-sex partners, or  for that matter  to any                                                               
     unmarried  combination  of  opposite  sex  individuals.  The                                                               
     following language  of SJR  20 is  designed to  confirm that                                                               
     marriage  benefits and  privileges,  qualities, effects  and                                                               
     obligations,  are  limited   to  marriage  relationships  as                                                               
     previously  defined by  the  Alaska  Constitution. The  word                                                               
     benefits is  designed to address  such things  as employment                                                               
     benefits. The  word privileges is  designed to  address such                                                               
     things as  the spousal privilege regarding  court testimony.                                                               
     The words qualities and effects  are designed to address the                                                               
     various  legal  qualities  and  effects  of  marriage  under                                                               
     Alaska  law. The  word obligations  is  intended to  address                                                               
     such obligations as spousal support in a divorce context.                                                                  
     Nothing  in SJR  20  would prohibit  private employers  from                                                               
     voluntarily  deciding to  extend marriage  like benefits  to                                                               
     employees with  same-sex partners.  A few  private employers                                                               
     have decided  to voluntarily  extend employment  benefits to                                                               
     the same-sex partners of their  employees. SJR 20 would have                                                               
     the effect  of precluding  a public employer  from extending                                                               
     employment   benefits   to  unmarried   same-sex   partners.                                                               
     However, in  this regard,  it is important  to note  that AS                                                               
     25.05.013(b),  passed by  the  Alaska  Legislature in  1996,                                                               
     already  prohibits   any  public  employer   from  extending                                                               
     marriage benefits to same-sex  partners. Any public employer                                                               
     who  currently extends  marriage  benefits  to the  same-sex                                                               
     partners of employees does so in violation of Alaska law.                                                                  
     VI. MARRIAGE AMENDMENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY                                                                                 
     States With Marriage Amendments:                                                                                           
     1. Alaska (1998 by 68%)                                                                                                    
     2. Arkansas (2004 by 75%)                                                                                                  
     3. Georgia (2004 by 77%)                                                                                                   
     4. Hawaii (1998 by 69%)                                                                                                    
     5. Kansas (2005 by 70%)                                                                                                    
     6. Kentucky (2004 by 75%)                                                                                                  
     7. Louisiana (2004 by 78%)                                                                                                 
     8. Michigan (2004 by 59%)                                                                                                  
     9. Mississippi (2004 by 86%)                                                                                               
     10. Missouri (2004 by 71%)                                                                                                 
     11. Montana (2004 by 66%)                                                                                                  
     12. Nebraska (2000 by 70%)                                                                                                 
     13. Nevada (2002 by 67%)                                                                                                   
     14. North Dakota (2004 by 73%)                                                                                             
     15. Ohio (2004 by 62%)                                                                                                     
     16. Oklahoma (2004 by 76%)                                                                                                 
     17. Oregon (2004 by 57%)                                                                                                   
     18. Texas (2005 by 76%)                                                                                                    
     19. Utah (2004 by 66%)                                                                                                     
     States  where Amendments  Are  Expected to  Be  Voted On  In                                                               
     1. Alabama                                                                                                                 
     2. Arizona                                                                                                                 
     3. Colorado                                                                                                                
     4. Idaho                                                                                                                   
     5. Indiana                                                                                                                 
     6. New Hampshire                                                                                                           
     7. South Carolina                                                                                                          
     8. South Dakota                                                                                                            
     9. Tennessee                                                                                                               
     10. Virginia                                                                                                               
     11. West Virginia                                                                                                          
     12. Wisconsin                                                                                                              
     When  marriage  related  Amendments  are  presented  to  the                                                               
     People  for  a  vote  they routinely  pass  by  overwhelming                                                               
     margins. Marriage  amendments voted on by  the people across                                                               
     the  country have  passed by  an average  pass rate  of 71%,                                                               
     ranging from  57% in  Oregon to 86%  in Mississippi.  SJR 20                                                               
     would  have   the  effect  of  bringing   Alaska's  Marriage                                                               
     Amendment  into  line  with marriage  amendments  that  have                                                               
     passed  in other  states. Eleven  of  the nineteen  existing                                                               
     marriage related  amendments that have been  passed in other                                                               
     states contain  provisions similar  to those  of SJR  20 and                                                               
     specifically  prohibit the  extension  of marriage  benefits                                                               
     and  privileges   to  unmarried  same-sex   partners.  Seven                                                               
     amendments prohibit same-sex  domestic partnerships and also                                                               
     prohibit  the extension  of  marriage  benefits to  same-sex                                                               
     partners.  Four   other  amendments   have  the   effect  of                                                               
     prohibiting the  extension of marriage benefits  to same-sex                                                               
    partners by prohibiting same-sex domestic partnerships.                                                                     
     A. Amendments That, Like SJR  20, Specifically Foreclose the                                                               
     Extension of  Marriage Benefits  and Privileges  to Same-Sex                                                               
          The Georgia Amendment provides in part that:                                                                        
          . . . . No union  between persons of the same sex shall                                                               
          be  recognized  by  this  state   as  entitled  to  the                                                               
          benefits of marriage...                                                                                               
     GA CONST Art. I, Sec. IV.                                                                                                  
          The Kansas Amendment provides in part:                                                                              
          No  relationship,  other  than  a  marriage,  shall  be                                                               
          recognized  by the  state as  entitling the  parties to                                                               
          the rights or incidents of marriage...                                                                                
          The Louisiana Amendment provides in part:                                                                           
          ...No  official  or court  of  the  state of  Louisiana                                                               
          shall construe  this constitution  or any state  law to                                                               
          require that  marriage or  the legal  incidents thereof                                                               
          be conferred upon any member  of a union other than the                                                               
          union  of  one  man  and  one  woman.  A  legal  status                                                               
          identical or substantially similar  to that of marriage                                                               
          for  unmarried  individuals  shall   not  be  valid  or                                                               
          The North Dakota Amendment provides in part:                                                                        
          ...No  other domestic  union, however  denominated, may                                                               
          be  recognized  as a  marriage  or  given the  same  or                                                               
          substantially equivalent legal effect.                                                                                
          The Ohio Amendment provides in part:                                                                                
          ...This state and its  political subdivisions shall not                                                               
          create or  recognize a  legal status  for relationships                                                               
          of  unmarried individuals  that intends  to approximate                                                               
          the  design,  qualities,   significance  or  effect  of                                                               
     OH CONST. Art. XV, Sec. 11.                                                                                                
          The Oklahoma Amendment provides in part:                                                                              
          ...Neither  this Constitution  nor any  other provision                                                               
          of  law  shall be  construed  to  require that  marital                                                               
          status  or the  legal  incidents  thereof be  conferred                                                               
          upon unmarried couples or groups.                                                                                     
     OK CONST. Art. 2, Sec 35.                                                                                                  
          The Utah Amendment provides in part:                                                                                  
          ...No  other domestic  union, however  denominated, may                                                               
          be  recognized  as a  marriage  or  given the  same  or                                                               
          substantially equivalent legal effect...                                                                              
     UTAH CONST Art. 1, Sec. 29.                                                                                                
     B.  State   Amendments  That  Foreclose  the   Extension  of                                                               
     Marriage Benefits  to Same-Sex  Partners by  Foreclosing the                                                               
     Creation  or Recognition  of Same-Sex  Domestic Partnerships                                                               
     or Civil Unions                                                                                                            
     Some state  amendments foreclose  the extension  of marriage                                                               
     benefits and privileges to  same-sex partners by foreclosing                                                               
     the recognition  of same-sex domestic partnerships  or civil                                                               
          The Kentucky Amendment provides:                                                                                      
          Only a marriage between one  man and one woman shall be                                                               
          valid or recognized as a  marriage in Kentucky. A legal                                                               
          status identical  or substantially  similar to  that of                                                               
          marriage for  unmarried individuals shall not  be valid                                                               
          or recognized.                                                                                                        
          The Arkansas Amendment provides:                                                                                      
          Section 1. Marriage.                                                                                                  
          Marriage consists only of the  union of one man and one                                                               
          Section 2. Marital status.                                                                                            
          Legal status  for unmarried persons which  is identical                                                               
          or substantially  similar to  marital status  shall not                                                               
          be  valid or  recognized in  Arkansas, except  that the                                                               
          legislature may  recognize a  common law  marriage from                                                               
          another state between a man and a woman.                                                                              
     ARK CONST Amend. 83.                                                                                                       
          The Nebraska Amendment provides in part:                                                                              
          ...The  uniting of  two persons  of the  same sex  in a                                                               
          civil  union, domestic  partnership,  or other  similar                                                               
          same-sex relationship shall not  be valid or recognized                                                               
          in Nebraska.                                                                                                          
          The Texas Amendment provides in part:                                                                                 
          ...This state or a political  subdivision of this state                                                               
          may not create or  recognize any legal status identical                                                               
          or similar to marriage...                                                                                             
     TX CONST Art. 1, Sec. 32.                                                                                                  
     VII. Potential Federal Constitutional Challenges to SJR 20                                                                 
     Generally speaking, if a law  bears a rational relation to a                                                               
     legitimate  end,  it  will  be   upheld  against  a  federal                                                               
     constitutional challenge.  Yet in 1996, using  only rational                                                               
     basis review, the United States  Supreme Court struck down a                                                               
     Colorado  constitutional amendment  which classified  on the                                                               
     basis  of  "homosexual,  lesbian or  bisexual  orientation."                                                               
     This case,  Romer v. Evans, is  the most likely basis  for a                                                               
     challenge to  SJR 20. It  was specifically mentioned  by the                                                               
     Alaska Supreme Court in ACLU v. State.                                                                                     
     Romer  invalidated  the  following  Colorado  Constitutional                                                               
     Amendment, that was put on the ballot by initiative:                                                                       
          No Protected  Status Based  on Homosexual,  Lesbian, or                                                               
          Bisexual  Orientation. Neither  the State  of Colorado,                                                               
          through any of its branches  or departments, nor any of                                                               
          its  agencies,  political subdivisions,  municipalities                                                               
          or school districts, shall enact,  adopt or enforce any                                                               
          statute,  regulation,   ordinance  or   policy  whereby                                                               
          homosexual, lesbian  or bisexual  orientation, conduct,                                                               
          practices   or   relationships  shall   constitute   or                                                               
          otherwise  be the  basis of  or entitle  any person  or                                                               
          class of persons to have  or claim any minority status,                                                               
          quota  preferences,   protected  status  or   claim  of                                                               
          discrimination. This Section  of the Constitution shall                                                               
          be in all respects self-executing.                                                                                    
     The United  States Supreme Court  interpreted this  text not                                                               
     merely  as  repealing  ordinances passed  by  municipalities                                                               
     prohibiting   discrimination  on   the   basis  of   "sexual                                                               
     orientation,"  but  also  as prohibiting  "all  legislative,                                                               
     executive or judicial action at  any level of state or local                                                               
     government designed to  protect the named class,  a class we                                                               
     shall refer to as homosexual  persons or gays and lesbians."                                                               
     The  Amendment  "imposes  a special  disability  upon  those                                                               
     persons alone." Therefore, the Court explained:                                                                            
          We find nothing special  in the protections Amendment 2                                                               
          withholds. These  are protections taken for  granted by                                                               
          most people  either because they  already have  them or                                                               
          do  not  need  them;   these  are  protections  against                                                               
          exclusion   from   an   almost  limitless   number   of                                                               
          transactions  and  endeavors that  constitute  ordinary                                                               
          civic life in a free society.                                                                                         
     Amendment 2 was  "at once too narrow and too  broad." It was                                                               
     too narrow because it characterized  a class of people by "a                                                               
     single trait."  It was  too broad because,  on the  basis of                                                               
     that single trait, it "then  denie[d] them protection across                                                               
     the  board."  Based on  this  combination  of targeting  and                                                               
     potentially  limitless  breadth,  the Court  concluded  that                                                               
     Amendment 2 could  not possibly be justified  by the State's                                                               
     purported  reasons (i.e.,  conserving resources,  respecting                                                               
     associational privacy).  It was not only  irrational, it was                                                               
     evil.  The rationale  of Amendment  2  was "inexplicable  by                                                               
     anything but animus toward the class it affects."                                                                          
          Romer has a narrow and a shallow bite:                                                                                
          It is narrow  in the sense that the  Court decided only                                                               
          the  case before  it and  avoided creating  broad rules                                                               
          that courts  might apply in  other cases.  The decision                                                               
          is shallow in the sense  that the Court's reasoning was                                                               
          almost  subrational--there is  more reflex  than reason                                                               
          in Justice Kennedy's opinion in Romer.                                                                                
     Romer is  far more notable for  what it did not  do than for                                                               
     what it did  do. Romer would have come out  the same way had                                                               
     the  Amendment  been  targeted  at  any  "narrowly  defined"                                                               
     group. The  Court, seemed more concerned  about suspect laws                                                               
     than   suspect   classifications.   It  was   "the   extreme                                                               
     overbreadth of  Amendment 2--not  the identity of  the class                                                               
     of persons covered by  the Amendment--that concerned Justice                                                               
     Kennedy and his colleagues in  the Romer majority." This can                                                               
     be  seen by  the fact  that  Romer left  Bowers v.  Hardwick                                                               
     standing,  and did  not hold  that sexual  orientation is  a                                                               
     suspect classification. In sum:                                                                                            
          It  was the  'sheer breadth'  of Amendment  2, not  any                                                               
          perceived  'widespread   animus  against   gays,'  that                                                               
          undermined the  state's attempt to provide  an innocent                                                               
          explanation in support of the  law. Romer is not a 'gay                                                               
          rights'  case; it  is a  case about  a purposeless  and                                                               
          unlimited legal disability.                                                                                           
     The "rule  of Romer," is  something like the  following: (1)                                                               
     does  a law  narrowly target  a specific  group, and  impose                                                               
     upon it a broad and  undifferentiated disability? (2) do the                                                               
     justifications offered  by the State patently  fail to offer                                                               
     a rational  purpose for the law?  (3) if the answers  to (1)                                                               
     and  (2)  are  yes,  then  one may  infer  the  presence  of                                                               
     irrational "animus." One does not begin, in other words, by                                                                
     searching the  public record for "evidence"  of "animus." In                                                               
     any heated debate, both sides  are likely to hurl some dirt.                                                               
     Instead, one looks at the  law itself and the justifications                                                               
     offered for it, and only  infers "animus" if these first two                                                               
     conditions are not met.                                                                                                    
     "Those who wish to use Romer  and the rational basis test to                                                               
     overturn   conventional  marriage   laws   are  tilting   at                                                               
     windmills." This is so because:                                                                                            
          Laws defining  marriage as  a relationship  between one                                                               
          man and one woman do not  target a class of persons and                                                               
          deny  that  class  the opportunity  to  protect  itself                                                               
          politically    against    a   limitless    number    of                                                               
          discriminatory  harms  and  exclusions.  Marriage  laws                                                               
          define and  regulate the  institution of  marriage, but                                                               
          they do not forbid any individual or group that seek                                                                  
          the law's protection against any kind of public or                                                                    
          private discrimination.                                                                                               
     Rather  than being  based upon  "animus," marriage  laws and                                                               
     laws  limiting the  benefits and  privileges of  marriage to                                                               
     married  couples  have  a   variety  of  rational  purposes,                                                               
     including,  but not  limited to  (1) encouraging  childbirth                                                               
     within   marriage,   (2)   offering  and   encouraging   the                                                               
     advantages of dual-gender  parenting, (3) providing positive                                                               
     educative  effects,  and  (4)   avoiding  a  slippery  slope                                                               
     whereby marriage becomes anarchic and incoherent.                                                                          
9:33:22 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Seekins stated  this resolution  is intended  to clarify                                                               
the  people's intent.  The people  wrote the  Alaska Constitution                                                               
and the people should decide how to interpret the constitution.                                                                 
9:34:07 AM                                                                                                                    
PETE NAKAMURA, MD,  retired physician and former  Director of the                                                               
Division  of  Public  Health, Department  of  Health  and  Social                                                               
Services testified in  Juneau about his 40-year  marriage and two                                                               
successful children. Despite a prior  commitment to deliver Meals                                                               
on Wheels  to senior  and disabled  residents, he  had determined                                                               
that  speaking   to  this  resolution  was   also  important.  He                                                               
continued reading testimony into the record as follows.                                                                         
     …Upon  reviewing SJR  20, I  cannot help  but view  it as  a                                                               
     hateful  proposal  to  target  a  minority  group  based  on                                                               
     prejudicial  beliefs.   If  enacted,  SJR  20   will  target                                                               
     individuals whose beliefs and  lifestyles are different from                                                               
     that of  the originators of this  bill as well as  that of a                                                               
     cadre  of their  constituents.  I  recognize and  appreciate                                                               
     that  we are  all different  but those  individuals targeted                                                               
     are similar  in many  ways to the  proponents of  this bill.                                                               
     They are not "bad  Alaskans," "nonproductive contributors to                                                               
     our society  and state," or  pose an "endangerment  to their                                                               
     neighbors".  They   are  not   targeted  because   they  are                                                               
     criminals  or leeches  upon society.  Just like  you and  I,                                                               
     they   have  a   mix   of   ambitions,  needs,   educational                                                               
     attainments,  personal  dreams,  contribute  to  society  in                                                               
     different ways, and are good neighbors and friends.                                                                        
     Amending  the constitution  to achieve  the goal  of denying                                                               
     defined privileges to a targeted  minority group is not only                                                               
     a misdirected  cost of time,  money, and energy, but  a real                                                               
     danger. If  successful, it  will open  Pandora's box  to the                                                               
     prejudicial  targeting of  any minority  group resulting  in                                                               
     the denial  of privileges  and benefits. No  minority rights                                                               
     will be  safe. I believe  that it is our  constitution, with                                                               
     the interpretation  of our higher courts,  that these rights                                                               
     are intended to be protected.                                                                                              
     The question often  proposed by the proponents  of this bill                                                               
     is  whether the  total population  of this  State should  be                                                               
     given  the opportunity  to  vote on  this  issue. There  are                                                               
     times  and issues  where the  vote  of the  populous is  not                                                               
     needed  and the  judgment of  our judicial  system is  to be                                                               
     held  responsible  for protecting  the  rights  of the  few.                                                               
     Voting  on  highly emotional  or  volatile  issues is  often                                                               
     based on prejudicial feelings and  not on what is right. The                                                               
     situation in Palestine and Iraq  are current examples of the                                                               
     democratic vote  gone awry. At  a hearing before  the Senate                                                               
     Judicial  Committee,   I  responded  to  this   question  by                                                               
     wondering  if  civil  rights  for  Blacks  would  have  been                                                               
     achieved if left to the vote  of the residents of the South.                                                               
     I pondered if  the fate of my family  interned behind barbed                                                               
     wire fences might have been worse  if it had been put to the                                                               
     vote of the public: a  public which expressed their opinions                                                               
     with  bricks and  rocks through  store  front windows.  With                                                               
     their  children dying  in  Pacific  battlefields, who  could                                                               
     have expected  parents to be  concerned about the  rights of                                                               
     my family and  me? At times, the outcome is  as important as                                                               
     the process.                                                                                                               
     It is  only my  opinion but I  did want to  go on  record as                                                               
     opposing SJR  20, an unfair,  unjust, and  harmful proposal.                                                               
     Will  you,  Alaska, or  I  be  any  better if  the  proposed                                                               
     amendment  is  successful?  I  doubt   it.  Will  some  good                                                               
     citizens be harmed? Absolutely!                                                                                            
9:39:55 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Green cited Mr. Clarkson's testimony claiming that this                                                                
resolution would not prevent private employers from providing                                                                   
benefits for same-sex partnerships.                                                                                             
9:40:13 AM                                                                                                                    
Dr.  Nakamura  acknowledged this,  but  countered  that it  would                                                               
encourage disproportionate treatment.                                                                                           
9:40:28 AM                                                                                                                    
M.V.  LEE BADGETT,  PhD., Professor  of Economics,  University of                                                               
Massachusetts,   and   visiting   professor  at   University   of                                                               
California,   Los   Angles   School   of   Law,   testified   via                                                               
teleconference  from  an  offnet   location.  She  asserted  that                                                               
including  employees'  domestic  partners  in  public  employers'                                                               
health care  and other  benefits would  have positive  effects on                                                               
state and  local government employers in  Alaska. The possibility                                                               
of  cost increases  is  usually  high on  the  list of  concerns,                                                               
although a  great deal of  evidence suggests that  cost increases                                                               
would  not occur.  Just as  important are  the benefits  that the                                                               
State of  Alaska would realize. She  anticipated certain benefits                                                               
based on her research and  that of other academics. She continued                                                               
outlining her written testimony as follows.                                                                                     
      1. Spending  related to  Medicaid and  uncompensated health                                                               
      care for  uninsured people  is likely  to fall  by $0.8-1.1                                                               
      million per year.                                                                                                         
      Offering  domestic  partner  benefits to  public  employees                                                               
      will likely reduce  the number of people  who are uninsured                                                               
      or  who  are  currently  enrolled  in  Medicaid  and  other                                                               
      government-sponsored health  care programs. A  recent study                                                               
      shows that  people with  unmarried partners -  either same-                                                               
      sex or different-sex partners -  are much more likely to be                                                               
      uninsured or on  Medicaid than are married  people (Ash and                                                               
      Badgett, 2005).  That study  finds that if  employers offer                                                               
      domestic partner  benefits, some  people who  are currently                                                               
      uninsured  are   likely  to  receive   insurance.  Overall,                                                               
      calculations using  Census data  and other  government data                                                               
      suggests  that  the State  of  Alaska  could save  $0.8-1.1                                                               
      million dollars  per year if public  employers offer health                                                               
      care coverage to all domestic partners.                                                                                   
      Census  data  show  that  326  same-sex  couples  and  3398                                                               
      different-sex  unmarried  couples  in  Alaska  include  one                                                               
      public  employee  (Census  data  analyzed  by  Gary  Gates,                                                               
      Ph.D.). Those couples have a  total of 4,500 children under                                                               
      18 living with them. National  data suggest that 14% of the                                                               
      same-sex  partners and  23% of  the different-sex  partners                                                               
      will  be  uninsured,  so  Alaska will  cut  the  number  of                                                               
      uninsured  by  1,300 -  1,800  people  by offering  partner                                                               
      benefits, depending  on how many children  of these couples                                                               
      are uninsured.  If uninsured  partners of  public employees                                                               
      sign up for an employee's  health plan, then the state will                                                               
      save money  on state-supported  health care  programs since                                                               
      uninsured  people  still  require  health  care  but  often                                                               
      cannot  pay   for  it.  The  state   and  local  government                                                               
      contribution  to  uncompensated   care  averaged  $276  per                                                               
      uninsured person  according to  a recent study  (Hadley and                                                               
      Holahan,  2003, in  2005 dollars).  Providing insurance  to                                                               
      1,300-1,800   people   will    reduce   state   and   local                                                               
      expenditures for uncompensated care by one-third to one-                                                                  
      half million dollars.                                                                                                     
      In  addition, 2%  of the  same-sex partners  and 4%  of the                                                               
      different-sex  partners  are  likely  to  be  on  Medicaid,                                                               
      suggesting that  partner benefits  could cut the  number of                                                               
      Medicaid recipients  by 242-333 people. Since  the State of                                                               
      Alaska will  pay half of  the average Medicaid  spending of                                                               
      $2,927  per child  and $3,861  per adult,  partner benefits                                                               
      could save the  state $0.5 to 0.6 million  per year. (These                                                               
      figures come from State  Health Facts, www.kff.org, and are                                                             
      adjusted for inflation.)                                                                                                  
      Putting  the two  effects together-less  uncompensated care                                                               
      and fewer  Medicaid recipients-shows  that the  state could                                                               
      save  $0.8-1.1 million  per  year in  current health  care-                                                               
      related  expenditures. If  the state  covers only  same-sex                                                               
      partners, the  savings will be much  smaller, approximately                                                               
      $50,000 per year.                                                                                                         
9:44:04 AM                                                                                                                    
      2.  Current employees  will be  healthier, more  satisfied,                                                               
      and less likely to leave their jobs.                                                                                      
      A  growing body  of research  shows that  offering domestic                                                               
      partner benefits  has several  positive effects  on current                                                               
      employees. These effects on  employees would likely benefit                                                               
      public employers in Alaska.                                                                                               
      First,  a  supportive   workplace  climate  and  supportive                                                               
      policies,  including  domestic partner  benefits,  increase                                                               
      disclosure, or "coming out",  of lesbian, gay, and bisexual                                                               
      employees. (Badgett,  2001; Button, 2001;  Driscoll, Kelly,                                                               
      and  Fassinger,  1996;  Griffith  & Hebl,  2001;  Ragins  &                                                               
      Cornwell, 2001; Ragins &  Cornwell, forthcoming; Rostosky &                                                               
      Riggle, 2002)                                                                                                             
      Second, this  increase in disclosure has  positive benefits                                                               
      to  worker  health.  Using different  measures  of  general                                                               
      anxiety or anxiety in  particular contexts, several studies                                                               
      found either that  people who were more  out reported lower                                                               
      levels  of  anxiety  and  less conflict  between  work  and                                                               
      personal  life,  or  that  more  closeted  people  reported                                                               
      higher  levels of  anxiety (Jordan  & Deluty,  1998; Day  &                                                               
      Schoenrade, 1997; Griffith & Hebl, 2002; Hall 1989).                                                                      
      Third, lesbian, gay, and bisexual  workers who are more out                                                               
      will  be  better workers.  Several  studies  show that  out                                                               
      workers report  greater job satisfaction  (Driscoll, Kelly,                                                               
      and  Fassinger, 1996;  Day &  Schoenrade, 1997;  Griffith &                                                               
      Hebl,  2002).  In  addition,   Day  &  Schoenrade's  survey                                                               
      participants who were more  out also reported sharing their                                                               
      employer's  values and  goals  more than  workers who  were                                                               
      more closeted.                                                                                                            
      However,  some studies  looked for  but did  not find  this                                                               
      link (Ellis & Riggle, 1995;  Ragins and & Corwell, 2001). A                                                               
      study  by  Ellis and  Riggle  (1995)  shows that  more  out                                                               
      workers  report  higher  levels of  job  satisfaction  with                                                               
      their  co-workers. Finally,  partner  benefits reduce  gay,                                                               
      lesbian, and bisexual workers'  turnover and increase their                                                               
      commitment to firms (Ragins & Corwell, forthcoming).                                                                      
9:45:29 AM                                                                                                                    
      3.   Domestic   partner    benefits   will   increase   the                                                               
      competitiveness  of  public  employers  in  recruiting  and                                                               
      retaining talented and committed employees.                                                                               
      Many  Alaskan  employers  already  offer  domestic  partner                                                               
      benefits to employees,  including Providence Health Systems                                                               
      Alaska,   BP  Exploration,   Chevron,   and  Wells   Fargo.                                                               
      Therefore, in  order to remain attractive  to employees who                                                               
      have  or  might  someday  have  domestic  partners,  public                                                               
      employers  will need  to  offer comparable  benefits. In  a                                                               
      national      2004     Harris      Interactive/Witeck-Combs                                                               
      Communication poll,  one third of  heterosexual respondents                                                               
      believed  that a  law  preventing  employers from  offering                                                               
      domestic partner  benefits would have  "quite a bit"  or "a                                                               
      great deal" of  an impact on employers'  ability to recruit                                                               
      and retain the most qualified employees.                                                                                  
      Indeed,  evidence suggests  that  employees make  decisions                                                               
      about  job offers  based  on domestic  partner benefits.  A                                                               
      March  2003 poll  by Harris  Interactive/Witeck-Combs found                                                               
      that  6% of  heterosexual  workers  reported that  domestic                                                               
      partner  benefits would  be  the most  important factor  in                                                               
      deciding  to accept  a new  job-more than  those who  would                                                               
      look for  on-site child  care. In  that study,  almost half                                                               
      (48%)  of lesbian,  gay, and  bisexual employees  said that                                                               
      partner   benefits   would    be   their   most   important                                                               
      consideration if  offered another  job. Furthermore,  7% of                                                               
      heterosexual  workers who  actually  changed jobs  reported                                                               
      that  partner benefits  were the  most important  factor in                                                               
      that decision - a factor  almost as common as changing jobs                                                               
      for better retirement benefits (12%).                                                                                     
      Offering domestic partner benefits  also sends an important                                                               
      positive  signal to  a much  larger group  of employees.  A                                                               
      2004    Harris    Interactive/Witeck-Combs    poll    finds                                                               
      significant  support for  the principle  of equal  benefits                                                               
      for  all employees:  64% of  heterosexual employees  agreed                                                               
      that   "Regardless  of   their   sexual  orientation,   all                                                               
      employees are entitled  to equal benefits on  the job, such                                                               
      as  health  insurance for  their  partners  or spouses."  A                                                               
      recent  study by  Richard Florida  found that  heterosexual                                                               
      employees,  even those  without  unmarried partners,  often                                                               
      look  for  domestic partner  benefits  as  a signal  of  an                                                               
      employer  that  values  diversity   and  creativity.  In  a                                                               
      follow-up study,  Florida argued  that regions that  do not                                                               
      embrace  the benefits  of diversity-friendly  policies risk                                                               
      alienating  the  creative  workforce  that is  the  key  to                                                               
      gaining  a competitive  edge in  the global  market. Public                                                               
      recognition of these benefits sends  a strong signal to the                                                               
      private sector.                                                                                                           
      This evidence  suggests that  partner benefits  will become                                                               
      increasingly  important  in   competing  for  talented  and                                                               
      committed   employees    of   all    sexual   orientations.                                                               
      Recruitment and  turnover are costly for  public employers,                                                               
      therefore  offering  partner  benefits  could  lower  those                                                               
9:47:30 AM                                                                                                                    
      4. Health care costs would  increase by a small amount, and                                                               
      the  increase would  likely be  shared by  public employers                                                               
      and employees.                                                                                                            
      The  State of  Alaska (and  some local  employers) provides                                                               
      employees with  a "benefit  credit" with  which to  pay for                                                               
      health  insurance  and  other   employee  benefits.  If  an                                                               
      employee's  benefit  costs  exceed  the  credit,  then  the                                                               
      employee  pays  the  difference.  In  2005-6,  the  benefit                                                               
      credit  ranged  from  $705  to $852  per  month  for  state                                                               
      employees  whose benefits  were administered  by the  state                                                               
      rather than a union. This  benefit credit was sufficient to                                                               
      pay for one of the health  care plans offered by the state,                                                               
      but at least employees would need  to pay some share of the                                                               
      premium.  Most importantly,  the state's  contribution (and                                                               
      the employee's  monthly health premium) does  not depend on                                                               
      the number of dependents  that the employee has. Therefore,                                                               
      in  the   short  run,   the  state's  (and   similar  local                                                               
      employers') extra cost for  domestic partner benefits would                                                               
      be zero.                                                                                                                  
      Over time, though, as  domestic partners and their children                                                               
      sign up for  coverage, the state plan and  union plans will                                                               
      incur  additional  expenses.  Because  the  state's  Select                                                               
      Benefits  medical  plan  is self-insured,  the  state  plan                                                               
      would  be responsible  for  paying those  costs. The  costs                                                               
      incurred  by the  state will  depend on  whether the  state                                                               
      pays for the  added costs by increasing  the benefit credit                                                               
      or whether  those added costs  are shifted to  employees by                                                               
     keeping the benefit credit fixed while premiums rise.                                                                      
      To estimate  the total  cost of providing  health insurance                                                               
      coverage  to  the  domestic  partners of  state  and  local                                                               
      government employees in  Alaska, I use the  State of Alaska                                                               
      Group Health and Life Fund  (from FY 2005 financial report)                                                               
      as a proxy for all  public employees affected. In 2005, the                                                               
      average  annual  health care  expenses  in  this fund  were                                                               
      $9,945 per  employee. If each  employee has on  average two                                                               
      dependents,  then the  health  care costs  per person  were                                                               
      $3,315. Multiplying that  cost per person by  the number of                                                               
      predicted partners  gives the total cost  increase to state                                                               
      and  local employers.  To calculate  predicted partners  we                                                               
      multiply the  census figure for partners  described earlier                                                               
      by the  likely take-up rates  for partners and  children --                                                               
      19%-27%  for same-sex  partners and  26%-35% for  different                                                               
      sex partners (Ash and Badgett,  2995) - since some partners                                                               
      will  already have  health insurance  and others  might not                                                               
      take up  the coverage  because employees  will be  taxed on                                                               
      any costs borne by employers.  The number of new adults and                                                               
      children covered would be  2,100-2,800, adding $7-9 million                                                               
      in costs to  state health care plans,  which corresponds to                                                               
      a 5-6% increase  in health care costs.  If public employers                                                               
      extended  health insurance  benefits  to domestic  partners                                                               
      and children  of same-sex  employees only, the  added costs                                                               
      would be $400,000 to $550,000, or a 0.3%-0.4% increase in                                                                 
      health care costs.                                                                                                        
9:49:08 AM                                                                                                                    
SARA  GRAY,  Juneau  resident  since  1988,  and  State  employee                                                               
testified  in  Juneau  that  she  was  fortunate  to  be  "white,                                                               
professional and heterosexual". Although  the limitations of this                                                               
resolution  do not  apply to  her it  affects her  deeply, as  an                                                               
Alaskan citizen, because  "it speaks to oppression".  She did not                                                               
want her  state to  be oppressive. Rather  it should  "make every                                                               
effort to  enliven and  bring great nurturing  and growth  to any                                                               
element of  the human family  condition of the state  of Alaska."                                                               
Alaska should  lead the  nation in  this. As  an employee  of the                                                               
State,  she   receives  "wonderful   benefits"  and   is  treated                                                               
respectfully by  her employer.  She has  many colleagues  who are                                                               
also professional  and serve the  State well, some of  whom would                                                               
be oppressed  if this resolution  passed. Both those  in same-sex                                                               
and  heterosexual relationships  arrive to  work and  perform the                                                               
duties assigned to them. Some of  her co-workers who are in same-                                                               
sex  relationships have  children and  some of  those are  foster                                                               
children.  These co-workers  take their  children to  the doctor,                                                               
shop  for   necessities,  pay   mortgages,  serve   on  community                                                               
committees, and otherwise contribute  to the community. She asked                                                               
the Committee to  stop action on this resolution and  to "keep in                                                               
mind that  every time that you  make any decisions that  you make                                                               
sure that you validate without oppression".                                                                                     
EDITH   BAILY,   heterosexual,  retired   commissioned   officer,                                                               
grandmother, and foster mother  testified via teleconference from                                                               
Anchorage,  reading  her written  statement  into  the record  as                                                               
     I   am  a   heterosexual,   retired  commissioned   officer,                                                               
     grandmother of  five, mother of  four, and foster  mother of                                                               
     45. Of those  45 foster kids, five  identified themselves as                                                               
     gay or  lesbian. I  was with them  when they  struggled with                                                               
     their orientation, saying that they  didn't want to be gay -                                                               
     gays are  hated. It was  through raising these teens  that I                                                               
     came to  truly understand that  sexual orientation is  not a                                                               
     choice.  Since  sexual  orientation  is not  a  choice,  why                                                               
     consider denying rights  based on it. It saves  no money. If                                                               
     a  person was  not  gay  he or  she  could  marry and  would                                                               
     receive benefits for their spouse.                                                                                         
     As a female, I  value my right to vote. It  was only in 1920                                                               
     that we  gained the right  to vote.  That was only  20 years                                                               
     before I was  born. Probably few Americans now  want to deny                                                               
     women  the  right to  vote.  It  just sounds  ridiculous  to                                                               
     I was  a young  adult during the  civil rights  movement. We                                                               
     look back on those days  and wonder why we denied individual                                                               
     rights based  on the color of  their skin. It was  only 1964                                                               
     that the  19th amendment was  passed that assured  the black                                                               
     vote. It  seems so ridiculous  when we look back.  What were                                                               
     we afraid of?                                                                                                              
     Now we are  standing at the pivotal point of  rights for gay                                                               
     and  lesbian. Let  us not  make those  same stupid  mistakes                                                               
     again.  Forget about  quoting the  Bible.  I remember  Bible                                                               
     versus quoted  that supported denying  rights to  both women                                                               
     and  blacks at  the time.  We don't  consider them  to apply                                                               
     It  seems  to be  such  a  contradiction of  the  Republican                                                               
     ideology of  "less government" to  find that now there  is a                                                               
     consideration that the government  move into the bedroom and                                                               
     deny rights  based on sexual orientation.  Alaska prizes its                                                               
     right  to   privacy  as   expressed  in   its  Constitution.                                                               
     Government  must  stay  out  of the  private  lives  of  the                                                               
     My  hope is  to live  long  enough to  see everyone  treated                                                               
     equally. Please help realize this  dream by voting no on SJR                                                               
9:57:02 AM                                                                                                                    
SHERRY MODROW, President, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of                                                                  
Fairbanks, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks against                                                                  
this resolution as follows.                                                                                                     
     I'm  here  to   speak  against  SJR  20   because  it  would                                                               
     discriminate  against  families.  My faith  advocates  equal                                                               
     treatment  under  the  law  for   all  people  in  committed                                                               
     relationships. The  Unitarian Universalist  denomination has                                                               
     been on  record as supporting  equity for bisexual,  gay and                                                               
     lesbian  people   for  over   35  years.   We  feel   it  is                                                               
     appropriate,  just  and right  that  people  who have  built                                                               
     their lives together should share  benefits offered by their                                                               
     As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm  and support the value                                                               
     and dignity  of each person  and of all families.  We oppose                                                               
     using  the constitution  of this  state  to promote  certain                                                               
     religious   doctrines    over   others.    This   resolution                                                               
     discriminates against  my religion and against  my religious                                                               
Ms. Modrow  stated that she is  the co-owner of a  small business                                                               
that chose to provide health  care benefits to all its employees.                                                               
This  proposed  constitutional  amendment has  the  potential  to                                                               
eliminate her  option to  do this and  force her  to discriminate                                                               
based on marital status. She continued as follows.                                                                              
     This resolution  makes poor business  sense. This  Act would                                                               
     invite,  and it  might  require,  discrimination based  upon                                                               
     misconceptions, stereotypes and certain religious beliefs.                                                                 
     The  proposed amendment  ignores the  substantial amount  of                                                               
     literature  documenting that  family members  overwhelmingly                                                               
     have  longer  lives,  better   health,  greater  chances  of                                                               
     economic  success  and  more  successful  children  than  do                                                               
     single people, regardless of how the family is constructed.                                                                
     SJR 20 is poor public policy  and it blurs the lines between                                                               
     religion,  privacy  and the  proper  role  of the  state  of                                                               
10:00:08 AM                                                                                                                   
CHARLES  NORTHRUP testified  via  teleconference  from an  offnet                                                               
location  that he  has been  away from  Alaska for  the past  six                                                               
years helping to develop independent  media in Croatia and Bosnia                                                               
as part of  a U.S. agency for  international development program.                                                               
These  efforts  have  similarity  to   earlier  work  he  did  in                                                               
assisting in brining public broadcasting  to rural Alaska. He was                                                               
hired to manage  the first public station in Alaska  and moved to                                                               
Fairbanks in 1963. He quickly  learned about the "Alaska spirit",                                                               
which  provided  that  the  only  thing  that  mattered  was  his                                                               
performance.  His  youth,  inexperience  or  appearance  was  not                                                               
factored into whether he was accepted.                                                                                          
Mr.   Northrup  asked   the  Committee   to   consider  this   in                                                               
deliberating on SJR 20. This  resolution would create two classes                                                               
of  employees.  He  requested  that   employees  not  be  treated                                                               
differently from their colleagues for non-work related reasons.                                                                 
Mr. Northrup informed  that he has two sons; one  is married with                                                               
two children.  The other  son and  his partner  adopted children.                                                               
Both  sons have  provided  him with  grandchildren. He  requested                                                               
that the Committee "please let the court decision stand."                                                                       
10:04:20 AM                                                                                                                   
SHIRLEY RIVAS testified via teleconference  from Anchorage to ask                                                               
the cost of the proposed constitutional amendment.                                                                              
10:04:57 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Wilken  cited the  figure from fiscal  note #1  from the                                                               
Office  of  the Lieutenant  Governor,  Division  of Elections  at                                                               
10:05:19 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Green  clarified this would  be the cost to  include the                                                               
question on the ballot of the next general election.                                                                            
10:05:27 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Rivas  commented this  amount seemed low.  She asked  who was                                                               
paying for the testimony of Mr. Clarkson.                                                                                       
10:05:43 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Green responded that  the Legislative Counsel contracted                                                               
with Mr. Clarkson.                                                                                                              
10:05:51 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Rivas  asked if the State  of Alaska is therefore  paying the                                                               
Co-Chair  Green  did  not  answer and  directed  the  witness  to                                                               
provide her testimony.                                                                                                          
10:06:07 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms.  Rivas indicated  she had  several other  questions. She  was                                                               
totally  opposed to  SJR 20.  She  is the  mother of  a gay  son.                                                               
Homosexuality is not a choice but  a biological fact. It is wrong                                                               
to penalize citizens that this  legislative body is also supposed                                                               
to be representing.                                                                                                             
10:07:25 AM                                                                                                                   
JAMES JOHNSON, Vice President, Faculty and Staff Relations,                                                                     
University of Alaska, testified in Juneau as follows.                                                                           
     I am  here today representing  the University of  Alaska, an                                                               
     employer of approximately 4,700  full-time faculty and staff                                                               
     across the state. Including  employees and their dependents,                                                               
     the university  now covers  approximately 10,000  lives with                                                               
     health  and other  benefits. Over  the years  the university                                                               
     has provided  benefit programs  that meet  the needs  of our                                                               
     employees and that, through  aggressive management, are very                                                               
     cost effective.                                                                                                            
     As  an  employer,  the  university  desires  to  protect  an                                                               
     important benefit it  now provides to its  employees who are                                                               
     financially interdependent partners.  Under the university's                                                               
     program,  financially interdependent  partners  who meet  at                                                               
     least thirteen  criteria are  provided health,  tuition, and                                                               
     other benefits  comparable to those provided  to our married                                                               
     employees.  As  of  November 2005,  111  employees  had  147                                                               
     dependents under the program.                                                                                              
     The  university wants  to protect  this  benefit because  we                                                               
     think it is  in the best interest of the  university and our                                                               
     employees.  While most  of our  employees are  Alaskans when                                                               
     they  are  hired,  by  necessity most  of  our  faculty  are                                                               
     recruited from a national an  international market. In order                                                               
     to compete in that market for  the top faculty and staff, we                                                               
     must offer a market  competitive compensation package. Since                                                               
     close  to half  the universities  across the  nation provide                                                               
     domestic partner  benefits, we  believe it is  critical that                                                               
     we  provide similar  benefits, for  if we  do not,  we would                                                               
     limit  considerably   the  pools   of  candidates   for  our                                                               
     At the same  time this benefit is  important for recruitment                                                               
     and  retention, it  is very  inexpensive. The  cost is  less                                                               
     than 1.5%  of the university's annual  health benefits cost,                                                               
     under  1% of  the  university's overall  benefits cost,  and                                                               
     about one sixth  of one percent of  our overall compensation                                                               
     In closing,  SJR 20, as currently  conceived, would preclude                                                               
     the  university from  providing  a benefit  program that  we                                                               
     believe is  in the interest  of our employees.  We therefore                                                               
     respectfully  request  that  you  protect  the  university's                                                               
     strong    interest    in   maintaining    our    financially                                                               
     interdependent partner benefits program.                                                                                   
10:10:32 AM                                                                                                                   
JEANNE LAURENCELLE, United Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks,                                                                
Social Action Committee, testified via teleconference from                                                                      
Fairbanks reading a statement into the record as follows.                                                                       
     Unitarian  Universalists  affirm   the  inherent  worth  and                                                               
     dignity  of every  person.  Our record  is  one of  opposing                                                               
     slavery when  it was a divisive  issue. Unitarians supported                                                               
     women's suffrage when it was  a divisive issue. We supported                                                               
     civil rights  when other  denominations shied  away. History                                                               
     bears us  out. I am here  today to testify on  behalf of all                                                               
     unmarried couples,  gay and straight.  History will  bear us                                                               
     We absolutely reject the call  to "let the people decide" in                                                               
     this matter. We assert that  the rights of a minority should                                                               
     never  be subject  to  the vote  of a  majority.  This is  a                                                               
     matter of justice.                                                                                                         
     We are proud that  our constitution guarantees every Alaskan                                                               
     equal rights, opportunities, and  protections under the law.                                                               
     This  also is  a  matter  of justice,  which  should not  be                                                               
     undermined   by    legislation   such   as    the   proposed                                                               
     constitutional amendment  - an  amendment which  was crafted                                                               
     with the express intent of  depriving a group of Alaskans of                                                               
     rights and benefits.                                                                                                       
     I  am pleased  to  report that  the  opinions of  Lutherans,                                                               
     Episcopalians, Methodists,  Presbyterians are evolving  to a                                                               
     greater  recognition  that  gays  and  lesbians  are  valued                                                               
     individuals  created  and loved  by  God.  A local  example:                                                               
     Fairbanks   Lutheran  Church   has   adopted  a   resolution                                                               
     welcoming  and  valuing   all  people…regardless  of  sexual                                                               
     orientation. Gays  are welcomed to fully  participate in the                                                               
     life of the congregation.                                                                                                  
     Even Dr. James  Dobson of Focus on the  Family, who strongly                                                               
     opposes gay marriage  and civil unions, is  now supporting a                                                               
     benefits bill in Colorado that  includes unmarried and same-                                                               
     sex couples. A  February 19th article in  the Christian Post                                                               
     quotes Dr. Dobson  as calling it a  "fairness bill". Further                                                               
     it states that "Focus  believes the 'reciprocal beneficiary'                                                               
     bill  they  support  will  address  the  issue  of  benefits                                                               
     separately from marriage."                                                                                                 
     We  are right  there with  Dr. Dobson.  We too  believe that                                                               
     this  is a  matter  of  fairness; and  we  too believe  that                                                               
     benefits can be addressed separately from marriage.                                                                        
     If  benefits  for unmarried  couples  and  gays are  morally                                                               
     acceptable to the Christian Right  in Colorado, they must be                                                               
     morally acceptable in Alaska too.                                                                                          
     As I  am sure  you know, the  cost of  implementing benefits                                                               
     for  state workers  is miniscule.  This is  not a  financial                                                               
     Focus  on  the  Family   endorses  benefits  legislation  to                                                               
     include unmarried couples and  same-sex couples in Colorado,                                                               
     so this cannot be a moral issue.                                                                                           
     The Alaska  Supreme Court found  unanimously that  the state                                                               
     must provide partner benefits for  gay employees, so this is                                                               
     not a legal issue.                                                                                                         
     By  process of  elimination it  seems that  this must  be an                                                               
     issue simply  of discomfort and dislike,  prejudice, driving                                                               
     a push to deprive others of rights and benefits.                                                                           
     I  urge  you to  oppose  SJR  20,  an unabashed  attempt  to                                                               
     discriminate against Alaskans.                                                                                             
10:14:09 AM                                                                                                                   
DEBBIE JOSLIN, President, Eagle Forum Alaska, testified via                                                                     
teleconference from offnet location in Glennallen on behalf of                                                                  
the over 1,000 members of the organization. She read testimony                                                                  
into the record as follows.                                                                                                     
     I want to start by  thanking the legislature for introducing                                                               
     this bill.  We appreciate your  giving the people  of Alaska                                                               
     an opportunity to  weigh in on this. In 1998,  the people of                                                               
     Alaska voted  by a majority of  almost 70 percent to  add to                                                               
     the State  Constitution, that marriage  is only  between one                                                               
     man  and one  woman.  In October  2005,  the Alaska  Supreme                                                               
     Court was  asked to decide  whether homosexual  couples were                                                               
     being discriminated against because  they were denied one of                                                               
     the privileges of a married couple.                                                                                        
     While  the answer  was clearly  no, our  constitution stated                                                               
     that marriage was something that  can only be entered by one                                                               
     man and  one woman.  The Alaska  Supreme Court  decided that                                                               
     case in favor of the  plaintiffs based on their own personal                                                               
     opinions.   Their decision  was in  direct violation  of the                                                               
     will of the people of Alaska and our constitution.                                                                         
     The question before the legislature  today is whether or not                                                               
     to allow  the people of Alaska  to have a chance  to clarify                                                               
     what was put  into the constitution in 1998.  We thought the                                                               
     wording  was  clear,  but the  Court  ignored  the  marriage                                                               
     amendment.  There  is ample  evidence  to  believe that  the                                                               
     people of Alaska do not agree with the Court.                                                                              
     You  are elected  representatives  to  this government  have                                                               
     been appointed  to represent the  will of the people  and as                                                               
    such we ask you to allow us to weigh in on this subject.                                                                    
     The  people who  are testifying  against this  bill are  not                                                               
     hurt  by its  passage. They  will  have the  right to  voice                                                               
     their opinions on the November ballot too.                                                                                 
     You're  being told  that the  issue  here is  discrimination                                                               
     because  of the  equal  protection clause.  That is  clearly                                                               
     wrong. No  one is  being discriminated against.  Our society                                                               
     has  always  held that  marriage  is  for the  public  good.                                                               
     Marriage  has  been  the preferred  relationship  since  the                                                               
     beginning of man.  It is in marriage that  children are born                                                               
     and reared in  the best ways possible  for society. Marriage                                                               
     is  for the  good of  our children  and should  be protected                                                               
     along  with  its  rights, privileges  and  responsibilities.                                                               
     Children raised  by a  mother and  father are  healthier and                                                               
     State  statutes  holds that  certain  criteria  must be  met                                                               
     before  issuing a  license to  practice medicine  or law  in                                                               
     this state.  Am I being  discriminated against because  I am                                                               
     not  allowed   a  license  to  practice   law  or  medicine?                                                               
     Certainly not.  My equal protection  is not  being infringed                                                               
     on. I  do not posses  the qualifications for  these licenses                                                               
     and neither do homosexual  couples posses the qualifications                                                               
     of marriage. Nor should they be entitled to its benefits.                                                                  
     That is not a discrimination  fact. It's just merely a fact.                                                               
     This legislature  is duty  bound to uphold  the will  of the                                                               
     people. The people spoke loud and  clear in 1998 and we wish                                                               
    to have the opportunity to reiterate what we said then.                                                                     
     Please pass SJR 20 and allow us that right.                                                                                
10:17:10 AM                                                                                                                   
DAVE  BONSON  testified  via  teleconference  from  Anchorage  in                                                               
support  of SJR  20. Focus  on the  Family is  not in  support of                                                               
benefits for  same sex couples. Rather  the organization recently                                                               
began a  campaign in  support of this  resolution. A  small vocal                                                               
minority is  propelled by the  American Civil Liberties  Union in                                                               
Alaska to stop this. The issue  is solely the right of the people                                                               
to vote to  support what they affirmed in 1998  with the marriage                                                               
amendment, which passed with a 68 percent majority.                                                                             
Mr.  Bonson  expressed  that the  limited  number  of  testifiers                                                               
speaking  in favor  of this  resolution is  not an  issue, as  68                                                               
percent of voters supported the constitutional amendment.                                                                       
Mr.  Bonson  spoke   as  a  husband  and  father,   that  he  was                                                               
disappointed  with  the situation  of  not  only recognizing  bad                                                               
behavior but also rewarding it.  To suggest that homosexuality is                                                               
innate  and this  is supported  by science  is completely  wrong.                                                               
Rather  the  science is  clear  that  this is  elected  behavior,                                                               
although  some may  have less  resistance  than others.  However,                                                               
some  may have  less resistance  to alcohol  and drug  abuse, but                                                               
those  people are  discriminated  against in  that  they are  not                                                               
allowed to fly planes or drive cars.                                                                                            
10:19:55 AM                                                                                                                   
BILL DEAN  testified in Juneau he  is married with four  sons. He                                                               
believed this  resolution would allow  Alaskans to  express their                                                               
opinion  in  the  polls.  He  encouraged  its  passage  from  the                                                               
Committee. It has  been made clear that the  majority of Alaskans                                                               
desire  to  reflect  the  Judeo-Christian ethics  in  how  we  do                                                               
business and in the way laws are passed.                                                                                        
10:21:36 AM                                                                                                                   
SEAN  BROWN,  attorney,  small   business  owner,  Christian  and                                                               
resident of  Bethel testified via  teleconference from  an offnet                                                               
location that  he and his  same sex  partner of seven  years call                                                               
Alaska  home.  The  issue  is  not as  Senator  Seekins  and  Mr.                                                               
Clarkson would  assert, about same-sex marriage.  That matter has                                                               
already been settled.  But rather the issue is  whether the State                                                               
of Alaska  could provide  benefits to the  family members  of its                                                               
employees,   who   are   working  in   schools,   colleges,   law                                                               
enforcement,  judiciary, Department  of Law,  and numerous  other                                                               
Mr. Brown informed  that his partner works for  the University of                                                               
Alaska  and  as  a  member  of his  family,  Mr.  Brown  receives                                                               
benefits through  the University.  He would be  directly affected                                                               
by    passage   of    this   resolution.    Notwithstanding   the                                                               
constitutional  amendment that  prohibits marriage  between same-                                                               
sex couples, the fact that  the University provided benefits made                                                               
them feel  a welcome part  of the Alaskan community.  They became                                                               
active in the  community by volunteering, opening  a business and                                                               
investing in  the state. They are  but one example of  a same-sex                                                               
couple contributing  to the state,  many others exists  in Bethel                                                               
and  elsewhere in  Alaska, who  raise families,  attend churches,                                                               
open business, etc. The State  should support these family units.                                                               
This resolution  is unquestionably  discriminatory and is  not in                                                               
line with the spirit of Alaska  he has come to love. He requested                                                               
the Committee not vote in favor of its passage.                                                                                 
10:24:10 AM                                                                                                                   
ANNA GAGNE-HAWES, University of Alaska  student and daughter of a                                                               
lesbian mother,  testified via  teleconference from  Fairbanks to                                                               
encourage  the Committee  to vote  against SJR  20. Her  mother's                                                               
partner has been a  part of her life since the  age of six, which                                                               
is literally as long as  she could remember. She receives partial                                                               
health  insurance   coverage  from  this  mother.   The  proposed                                                               
constitutional amendment  would divide her mothers,  and only one                                                               
would  be legally  able  to provide  her  benefit coverage.  This                                                               
amendment does not  only affect people whose  lifestyles some may                                                               
not agree with, it affects their  families as well. She loves and                                                               
respects  her mothers  and would  be ashamed  if the  legislature                                                               
passed this  amendment that would  punish not only  partners, but                                                               
their children and families as well.                                                                                            
10:25:24 AM                                                                                                                   
JEFF BOLTON,  Alaskan Native,  testified via  teleconference from                                                               
Anchorage   against  the   resolution.  A   bill  that   supports                                                               
discrimination  need not  be  put  to vote.  Speaking  as a  non-                                                               
Christian conservative, he asserted  that same-sex unions provide                                                               
equality and  an opportunity to choose  partnership for economic,                                                               
emotional  and other  reasons. Past  laws stipulated  that Blacks                                                               
and Whites could not marry  each other. Gays should be encouraged                                                               
to  marry  and   to  make  binding  commitments.   He  asked  the                                                               
legislature to protect his rights and equality.                                                                                 
10:28:32 AM AT EASE                                                                                                           
Vice Chair Bunde chaired the remainder of the meeting.                                                                          
10:29:23 AM                                                                                                                   
KAYT SUNWOOD testified via teleconference  from an offnet site in                                                               
Kivalina  as a  concerned  citizen of  Alaska  and a  financially                                                               
interdependent partner.  She has many colleagues  and friends who                                                               
are   also   in    unmarried   and   financially   interdependent                                                               
partnerships. This  resolution would  eliminate hers  and others'                                                               
opportunity  to  pay  for  their own  health  care  coverage  for                                                               
themselves  and  their  families.   She  found  it  difficult  to                                                               
understand  the sense  of amending  the constitution  in such  an                                                               
ambiguous and  discriminatory manner. It could  prove financially                                                               
disastrous  to the  state beyond  the impact  to State  of Alaska                                                               
employees. Some corporations and businesses in Alaska have anti-                                                                
discrimination policies and  mandates. A discriminatory amendment                                                               
such as this  could drive these businesses out of  the state. She                                                               
questioned the  wisdom of gambling  with Alaska's future  in this                                                               
manner.  She directed  the Committee  to keep  Alaska financially                                                               
healthy and stop  the progress of this resolution  before it cost                                                               
the state more than had already been expended.                                                                                  
10:31:47 AM                                                                                                                   
JANA  PEIRCE,  Unitarian  Universalist Fellowship  of  Fairbanks,                                                               
testified  via  teleconference  from   Fairbanks,  on  behalf  of                                                               
herself, her husband  and the social action committee  of the UUF                                                               
in  opposition of  SJR  20 in  order to  protect  the rights  and                                                               
benefits  of all  Alaskans. She  continued reading  the following                                                               
statement into the record.                                                                                                      
     The proposed  amendment violates  my religious  beliefs. Our                                                               
     principles affirm  the inherent  worth and dignity  of every                                                               
     individual, and  our faith  has a  long history  of opposing                                                               
     religious and  political intolerance. As people  of faith we                                                               
     need to speak  out against those who  would make "tolerance"                                                               
     a dirty word.                                                                                                              
     This  resolution  is wrong  because  it  would enshrine  the                                                               
     religious   beliefs   of   one  group   into   the   state's                                                               
     constitution. When  we let  our constitution  be used  as an                                                               
     instrument  of  intolerance,  as   an  attempt  to  legalize                                                               
     discrimination,  we  can  no  longer   celebrate  it  as  an                                                               
     enlightened document as we have this past year.                                                                            
     But this  is not fundamentally  an issue of religion.  It is                                                               
     an issue of fairness, which  is why the Alaska Supreme Court                                                               
     ruled  unanimously  that to  deny  benefit  to the  same-sex                                                               
     partners of  public employees is  unconstitutional. Changing                                                               
     the constitution  to categorically deny rights  to one group                                                               
     of Alaskans does not make it more fair.                                                                                    
     And  because the  bill is  so broadly  written it  would not                                                               
     only discriminate against gay  and lesbian couples and their                                                               
     children, it  would deny equal compensation  to heterosexual                                                               
     unmarried families as well.                                                                                                
     But it is not just a  question of equality under the law. It                                                               
     is also good business:  Nearly three-quarters of Fortune 500                                                               
     companies offer  domestic partner  benefits. And  the number                                                               
     of  private  companies  extending   equal  benefits  to  all                                                               
     employees  has  been growing  steadily  with  an average  of                                                               
     three  employers  per  day adding  domestic  partner  health                                                               
     coverage in  2003, and  this trend  has continued.  Even Dr.                                                               
     James   Dobson,   head   of   the   conservative   Christian                                                               
     organization, Focus on the Family,  supports a benefits bill                                                               
     that would include unmarried and gay families.                                                                             
     Bucking this  trend will  have direct  economic consequences                                                               
     for  public and  private  sector employers  in Alaska.  Even                                                               
     more  than  the  anti-marriage  amendment,  this  resolution                                                               
     would restrict competitiveness for  companies. They may have                                                               
     to  increase  pay  and other  compensation  to  attract  top                                                               
     candidates. They  may have a harder  time retaining existing                                                               
     workers, increasing their costs  for hiring and training. We                                                               
     should  leave Alaska  employers  the  flexibility to  define                                                               
     their  benefits  programs  as their  consciences  and  their                                                               
    business sense dictates. We should not tie their hands.                                                                     
     And finally, allowing  this resolution to be  put before the                                                               
     voters in a  general election is bad  governance. The rights                                                               
     of the  minority should never  be subject to a  popular vote                                                               
     by the  majority. The rights  of minorities must  be weighed                                                               
     by a  group of reasoned and  ethical men and women  who have                                                               
     been charged to  act in the public interest.  That means our                                                               
     elected officials or the courts.  I am asking this committee                                                               
     to discharge that duty - and  to get it right, so the courts                                                               
     don't have to.                                                                                                             
10:35:01 AM                                                                                                                   
LESLIE  WOOD  testified  in  Juneau that  she  and  her  domestic                                                               
partner  of eight  years decided  to have  children and  recently                                                               
learned she was  pregnant with twins. If  this resolution passed,                                                               
she  would have  to  work  to provide  health  insurance for  her                                                               
children. This would  make her family unstable.  She opposed this                                                               
resolution because she  did not want the stability  of her family                                                               
put to vote.                                                                                                                    
10:36:45 AM                                                                                                                   
CHUCK  O'CONNELL  testified  via teleconference  from  Anchorage,                                                               
reading his testimony into the record as follows.                                                                               
     I am  a married 56-year  Alaskan resident with  five Alaskan                                                               
     children, and I am speaking in  opposition to SJR 20 for all                                                               
     seven of us frequent voters.                                                                                               
     The  First Americans  have  lived on  our  continent for  at                                                               
     least  30,000  years;  Columbus   got  close  in  1492;  the                                                               
     Pilgrims arrived  in 1620;  the Declaration  of Independence                                                               
     was  signed  by  56  delegates  on July  4,  1776;  and  our                                                               
     Constitution was  ratified by  fourteen states  between 1787                                                               
     and 1791.                                                                                                                  
     Well guess  what? Not one  single person alive,  during this                                                               
     entire period of our Nation's  early history, had a marriage                                                               
     license that was issued by a government agency.                                                                            
     I am  sure that  the millions who  were married  during this                                                               
     historical  period  were  recognized  as  married  by  their                                                               
     respective  contemporaries.  Why-oh-why  is  my  country  so                                                               
     caught up in this "marriage"  debate? Marriage is not really                                                               
     a vital governmental  issue, and it is  time for politicians                                                               
     to back  off…it is not  a time  to further limit  the rights                                                               
     and  benefits  of  citizens  who  share  housing  without  a                                                               
     government  marriage license.  The  marriage license,  after                                                               
     all, was  originally, and has  always been a  tyrannical way                                                               
     to legally oppress minorities.                                                                                             
     People  promoting this  amendment are  the same  ideological                                                               
     purists who  want to make  some medical decisions  between a                                                               
     woman and  her doctor  illegal, they want  certain religious                                                               
     dogma in  courthouses and  schools, they  brazenly interfere                                                               
     with  the   right  to  die,  and   they  oppose  enlightened                                                               
     scientific research  with stem  cells. For me  nothing could                                                               
     be more threatening than  this stupid continued interference                                                               
     in the  personal privacy of  some of Alaska's  citizens with                                                               
     whom they do not agree.                                                                                                    
     This  entire interference  in marriage  was created,  in the                                                               
     first  place,  by  government  oppression  of  a  consensual                                                               
     relationship  between consenting  adults of  mixed race  and                                                               
     now there  are those  in elective  office who  are seriously                                                               
     considering  further  limiting these  constitutional  rights                                                               
     and  benefits based  solely on  who we  live with.  What the                                                               
     State should do  is get out of the privacy  of our homes and                                                               
     "provide  for our  public safety,  and  promote our  general                                                               
     Tyranny by the majority  is extremely dangerous, remember we                                                               
     are all minorities in some degree!                                                                                         
     Racial  segregation,  separate  but  equal,  voting  rights,                                                               
     equal  access  to  educational  opportunity,  the  right  to                                                               
     Inter-racial marriage,  striking down  sodomy laws,  and the                                                               
     constitutional right  to equal  benefits are all  the result                                                               
     of  court  decisions. Were  it  up  to  the tyranny  of  the                                                               
     majority, all of these enumerated rights would not exist.                                                                  
     Marriage has  long been a  vehicle used to  oppress minority                                                               
     groups. I  urge you to keep  your oath of office  and uphold                                                               
     the Constitution,  don't turn  your back  and vote  to limit                                                               
     I urge you to oppose SJR 20.                                                                                               
10:41:13 AM                                                                                                                   
SYLVIA DEAN, Homemaker,  Mother, testified in Juneau  that she is                                                               
sobered  that the  court  might  have a  superior  view over  the                                                               
rights  of the  people. Because  the will  of voters  had already                                                               
been  voiced, the  only fair  way to  uphold the  welfare of  the                                                               
state would be  to put this constitutional  amendment proposal on                                                               
the ballot.                                                                                                                     
10:42:00 AM                                                                                                                   
TIM STALARD testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, reading                                                                
the following statement into the record.                                                                                        
     …I own a travel business here  in Fairbanks. I am here today                                                               
     to oppose SJR 20 because  it is discriminatory, it will hurt                                                               
     our tourism industry, and it is bad for Alaskan families.                                                                  
     I know  this resolution will  hurt our travel  industry from                                                               
     personal  experience. In  fact this  resolution has  already                                                               
     cost a Fairbanks businessman $20,000  in lost business. I am                                                               
     arranging  for  an  event  for a  large  group  this  coming                                                               
     summer.  Because of  the possibility  that  the hotel  owner                                                               
     might  vote  for  this  resolution, I  decided  to  take  my                                                               
     business elsewhere.  I do not  want to subject  my customers                                                               
     to a business that might  discriminate against them based on                                                               
     their marital  status or who they  love. Even discriminating                                                               
     against one of my clients is too many.                                                                                     
     If our  great state  passes a  discriminatory constitutional                                                               
     amendment, this will have  negative repercussions across our                                                               
     travel  industry.  I think  everyone  has  heard Las  Vegas'                                                               
     travel slogan  "what happens in  Vegas, stays in  Vegas". In                                                               
     other  words,  people go  to  Las  Vegas  - a  very  popular                                                               
     destination -  to have fun and  not to be judged.  If Alaska                                                               
     rolls out a conditional welcome  mat that says "Visit Alaska                                                               
     as  long as  you are  not unmarried,  divorced, gay,  etc.,"                                                               
     less  people   will  want   to  come   here.  Just   like  a                                                               
     politician's   campaign  message,   our  travel   industry's                                                               
     marketing message needs broad  appeal that does not alienate                                                               
     potential  visitors. The  obvious discrimination  of SJR  20                                                               
     will scare visitors away from our state.                                                                                   
     I know on a personal level that this resolution is anti-                                                                   
     family  and   will  have   devastating  affects   on  family                                                               
     finances. In addition to my  travel business, I also work at                                                               
     the  University  of  Alaska  (UA).  My  partner  and  I  are                                                               
     enrolled in  the domestic partner benefits  program. Through                                                               
     this  program I  am able  to provide  health care  and other                                                               
     benefits to our children. I  don't think I need to emphasize                                                               
     the  importance of  health  insurance  to Alaskan  families.                                                               
     But,  I fail  to see  any public  policy benefit  to denying                                                               
     health insurance to Alaskan families.  As you probably know,                                                               
     the domestic partner benefits program  costs UA less than 2%                                                               
     of the  total benefit program  costs. So the cost  is small,                                                               
     but the benefit to families and the employer are huge.                                                                     
     It is  not UA who is  out of touch with  economic and social                                                               
     reality,  it  is the  radical  backers  of this  resolution.                                                               
     Approximately  half  of  the  Fortune  500  companies  offer                                                               
     domestic  partner  benefits  and  more do  each  year.  This                                                               
     includes companies  such as Alaska Airlines,  BP, Ford Motor                                                               
     Company,  Home Depot,  Motorola, and  Wells Fargo.  Offering                                                               
     domestic  partner benefits  is  an  industry best  practice,                                                               
     which  helps companies  attract  and retain  the best,  most                                                               
     creative employees.                                                                                                        
     My  final   point  is   that  discrimination   against  non-                                                               
     traditional unmarried  families is  bad public policy.  I am                                                               
     32  years old  and many  in my  generation are  reluctant or                                                               
     wait a long  time to get married. While my  own parents have                                                               
     been married  for more  than 30  years, overall  my parents'                                                               
     generation  made a  mess  of marriage.  Many  of my  friends                                                               
     don't want  to get married  because of their  parents' rocky                                                               
     marriage  relationships   and  ugly  divorces.   Also,  many                                                               
     divorced parents are reluctant  to marry their new partners.                                                               
     Regardless  of  the reasons  that  Alaskan  parents are  not                                                               
     married,  it  is  personal  and  family  business,  not  the                                                               
     The State's business is protecting  children and that is why                                                               
     I ask you to kill this  resolution in this committee. SJR 20                                                               
     might save the state a  small amount of money, while hurting                                                               
     our  travel  industry,   and  having  devastating  financial                                                               
     impact on Alaskan families.                                                                                                
10:45:43 AM                                                                                                                   
TIMOTHY   DAVIS,   25-year   Alaska   resident,   testified   via                                                               
teleconference from Anchorage, reading the following statement                                                                  
into the record.                                                                                                                
     …During this time,  I have seen legislative  issues come and                                                               
     go on  the state and  local levels that had  various impacts                                                               
     on our quality of life in  the Great Land. Never have I seen                                                               
     a  more crucial  issue  come before  us.  The protection  of                                                               
     marriage  - traditional  marriage in  our state.  It screams                                                               
     for a vote of the people.                                                                                                  
     Marriage between one  man and one woman has  always been the                                                               
     bedrock  for  American  families   and  the  cornerstone  of                                                               
     American  social stability.  Meddling with  this fundamental                                                               
     relationship is arrogant of the highest order.                                                                             
     Five  Alaskan Supreme  Court justices  appear  to have  such                                                               
     arrogance. They  have summarily  usurped thousands  of years                                                               
     of history  and preempted  the right of  the people  of this                                                               
     state  to affirm  what the  majority of  us know  to be  the                                                               
     right  and  true  nature  of  marriage  established  by  our                                                               
     creator, God: marriage between one man and one woman.                                                                      
     Further,   they  expect   the  majority   to  pay   for  the                                                               
     inordinate,  sexual  expressions  of a  few.  The  ludicrous                                                               
     nature  of their  actions can  be illustrated.  What if  the                                                               
     Court had decided  that polygamy was a  valid alternative to                                                               
     our  current legal  understanding  marriage?  Would that  be                                                               
     allowed  to stand  without coming  before the  people for  a                                                               
     vote? Or what  if since it does not seem  to matter what the                                                               
     definition  of marriage  is, they  from their  vaulted posts                                                               
     deem prostitution or any other  sexual expression as needing                                                               
     legal status?                                                                                                              
     Now these  may seem ludicrous  examples in their  own right,                                                               
     but  such an  appearance is  only  one of  degree. When  you                                                               
     change the definition  of marriage, which in  effect is what                                                               
     the  Court did,  as Dr.  Nakamura alluded  to Pandora's  box                                                               
     earlier, I would  say you open Pandora's box for  a flood of                                                               
     other inordinate sexual expressions to be warranted.                                                                       
     I do  not trust unelected  officials to make  such grandiose                                                               
     decisions for us. I do  not trust imperialistic ACLU lawyers                                                               
     to  have the  moral rectitude  to speak  for me.  I want  to                                                               
     Please allow  SJR 20 to pass  and give the people  you serve                                                               
     the  opportunity to  speak  on this  crucial  issue. What  I                                                               
     object to is judicial imperialism.                                                                                         
10:48:26 AM                                                                                                                   
KAREN TAFT WELLS, 27-year State of Alaska employee, testified in                                                                
Juneau as follows.                                                                                                              
     The  State   Constitution  supposedly  says  I   have  equal                                                               
     protection under the law.                                                                                                  
     What some of your colleagues have  proposed to do is to take                                                               
     that  right away  from a  certain  class of  people and  say                                                               
     everyone  in the  state  is protected  except  for gays  and                                                               
     lesbians. By  placing an initiative  on the fall  ballot you                                                               
     will be  asking for  discrimination against a  certain class                                                               
     of people.  I am one  on those people.  I sit before  you to                                                               
     ask that you stop this bill right now.                                                                                     
     The   Supreme   Court   was   right   in   their   unanimous                                                               
     determination  that same  sex  domestic  partners should  be                                                               
     entitled   to   State    employee   benefits.   The   Alaska                                                               
     constitution  bars   us  from  marrying  and   without  that                                                               
     particular document,  we are  not able  to receive  the same                                                               
     benefits   as  our   married   co-workers   and  are   being                                                               
     discriminated against.                                                                                                     
     Do you really believe the  people of this state can navigate                                                               
     the  legal waters  better and  more fairly  than the  Alaska                                                               
     Supreme  Court?  I  don't.  I  think  the  wording  of  this                                                               
     initiative  is  mean  spirited  and  seeks  to  discriminate                                                               
     against  a class  of employees  that you,  as the  body that                                                               
     represent us,  are responsible for  protecting. Or,  are you                                                               
     going to  concur with  these mean  spirited people  and say,                                                               
     yes, everyone in  the state is equally  protected except for                                                               
     gays and lesbians. A better  question would be fairer if you                                                               
     asked the voters if they  want to limit the equal protection                                                               
     clause   so  that   it  no   longer  applies   to  unmarried                                                               
     Please  stop this  initiative today  by keeping  it in  this                                                               
     committee. Please see  that I am human, just  like you, that                                                               
     love arises in me the same as  it does you and that there is                                                               
     no difference in that quality of  love. Who cares if my love                                                               
     is for  a woman rather  than a man,  what business is  it of                                                               
     yours or  the people of  this state to  judge who and  how I                                                               
     love? It  is just love, a  source of energy available  to me                                                               
     that adds  to the  goodness in the  world and  takes nothing                                                               
     away. It  is pure, it  is beautiful  and worthy of  the same                                                               
     treatment  my married  co-workers receive.  I work  side-by-                                                               
     side  employees who  are allowed  to marry,  thus qualifying                                                               
     for  benefits.  Those  people  receive  benefits  for  their                                                               
     spouses  and  children.  Since  I  am  legally  barred  from                                                               
     marrying,  I  should  be  entitled  to  receive  those  same                                                               
     benefits  from   the  state  through   domestic  partnership                                                               
     criteria. Otherwise as I see  it, you will be discriminating                                                               
     against me.                                                                                                                
     And lastly,  what scares  me the most  is that  amending the                                                               
     constitution for  this purpose will  set a standard  for any                                                               
     other group  that is  not in  the majority.  Because I  am a                                                               
     part  of a  minority group,  should not  lessen my  value or                                                               
     worth as  an employee. What  group will  be next? I  bet you                                                               
     dare not speak it for you would  be accused of an "ISM" or a                                                               
     "phobia".  Why is  homophobia ok,  why are  special interest                                                               
     groups coming from Colorado to  widen the gap of intolerance                                                               
     and fear? Do  you see what this  is doing to me,  to those I                                                               
     love, to the  people of this state, the  country, the world?                                                               
     We need  tolerance of one  another's capacity  for tolerance                                                               
     through leadership and not allow  hate and fear to taint our                                                               
     communities.  I will  end  with my  favorite  quote "If  you                                                               
     bring forth  what is within  you, what you bring  forth will                                                               
     save you,  if you  do not  bring forth  what is  within you,                                                               
     what you  do not  bring forth will  destroy you."  Gospel of                                                               
     St. Thomas Logan.                                                                                                          
10:52:06 AM                                                                                                                   
LISA FITZPATRICK testified via teleconference from an offnet                                                                    
location in opposition to SJR 20. She is married with two                                                                       
children  and   she  appreciates  the  values   that  occur  with                                                               
marriage. She believes in family  values and teaches those to her                                                               
Ms.  Fitzpatrick informed  that  she  is also  a  lawyer and  she                                                               
places a high  value on the integrity of  the constitutions, both                                                               
the  Alaska and  US constitutions.  She automatically  approaches                                                               
with caution and distrust, attempts  to modify the constitutions.                                                               
The  proposed  amendment  would  write  discrimination  into  the                                                               
Alaska Constitution.  It would  target a  minority group  for the                                                               
purpose of  denying equal protection  of the law based  solely on                                                               
their  status.  She  asked  where  the line  would  be  drawn.  A                                                               
professor in law school taught  her that once the rights embedded                                                               
in the constitution were tampered  with, you embark on a slippery                                                               
slope.  This  proposed resolution  would  put  the state  down  a                                                               
slippery slope of discrimination.                                                                                               
Ms.  Fitzpatrick's receipt  of benefits  would not  be personally                                                               
affected  by  the  passage   of  this  constitutional  amendment;                                                               
however she  would be personally  affected. In  raising children,                                                               
one of  the core values  she teaches  them is tolerance  of other                                                               
people and their lifestyles.   A discriminatory amendment such as                                                               
this would send  the opposite message. As a  practical matter, if                                                               
this  resolution  passed  and the  proposed  amendment  were  put                                                               
before  the  people,   she  could  only  begin   to  imagine  the                                                               
polarization that  would ensue and  the infighting and  hate that                                                               
would follow.                                                                                                                   
Ms.  Fitzpatrick was  proud to  be an  Alaskan and  proud of  the                                                               
heritage and the  recognized right to privacy.  Private lives are                                                               
just that: private lives. This should not be changed.                                                                           
Ms.  Fitzpatrick  disagreed with  the  reasoning  of putting  the                                                               
rights of  a minority group  to a popular vote.  The legislators'                                                               
duty is to  stop these types of resolutions.  Allowing such votes                                                               
leads to tyranny by majority.                                                                                                   
Ms. Fitzpatrick quoted Lillian Helman  from testimony before a US                                                               
Congressional committee during the  commonly referred to McCarthy                                                               
hearings, "I  won't cut my  conscience to suit  today's fashion."                                                               
Ms. Fitzpatrick applied  the statement to her  assessment of this                                                               
resolution and would  not discriminate in this  fashion because a                                                               
number of  interest groups that believes  strongly in fundamental                                                               
Christian values.  This resolution  does not  represent Christian                                                               
10:55:32 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Bunde announced that Committee  must recess for a session                                                               
of the full  Senate. Although he had not  conferred with Co-Chair                                                               
Green, he was certain that due  to the volume of interest in this                                                               
resolution, it  would be scheduled  again. Ample notice  would be                                                               
provided  to allow  those unable  to testify  at this  meeting an                                                               
opportunity to do so.                                                                                                           
10:56:07 AM                                                                                                                   
BRENDA BRAY testified via teleconference  from Anchorage that she                                                               
has voted consistently in all  elections and would continue to do                                                               
so. This  issue should be  brought to a  vote of the  people. Not                                                               
all issues before  State government require this,  but this issue                                                               
is one that does need to reflect the will of the people.                                                                        
Ms. Bray  did not view  this resolution as oppressive  and brutal                                                               
in that it  does not forbid employers from  offering benefits for                                                               
domestic partnerships. Instead, it  prevents employers from being                                                               
required to provide the benefits.                                                                                               
Ms.  Bray  spoke  as  a  person with  family  members  who  lived                                                               
together without marriage she wondered how  big the net has to be                                                               
in which  employers must  provide benefits.  She has  housed many                                                               
international  students who  did not  have health  benefits, they                                                               
became as much  a part of her family as  her natural children and                                                               
she  has maintained  contact with  them.  Yet she  was unable  to                                                               
include them in her health care coverage.                                                                                       
Ms. Bray encouraged the Committee to  allow the issue to be voted                                                               
upon to allow the State to move forward.                                                                                        
10:58:04 AM                                                                                                                   
SCOTT  MILLER testified  in Juneau,  reading  from the  following                                                               
     This  bill  is  playing  with  fire,  and  could  be  hugely                                                               
     expensive.  From  the  fiscal  note,  the  State  apparently                                                               
     hasn't  analyzed  the  cost   of  having  same-sex  families                                                               
     covered by  employer-provided insurance versus  serving them                                                               
     under,  for  example,  Medicaid,   which  is  largely  State                                                               
     funded.  Or  the extra  cost  of  being  forced by  lack  of                                                               
     insurance to  postpone care until  it requires  an emergency                                                               
     room visit.  These are tangled  questions, but only  the tip                                                               
     of the iceberg.                                                                                                            
     Of  course, the  financial  impacts on  the  men, women  and                                                               
     children  in same-sex  families of  being denied  health and                                                               
     other  benefits  can  be  severe, and  I'm  sure  that  many                                                               
     testifying here  will describe those  impacts. I'm  not gay,                                                               
     and I have no first-hand  experience being denied employment                                                               
     benefits on the basis of my personal identity.                                                                             
     I  do, however,  have personal  experience growing  up in  a                                                               
     country  divided   by  discrimination,  and  I   think  it's                                                               
     important to confront  the costs of that.  Surprising, as it                                                               
     may  seem today,  when  I was  in  high school,  interracial                                                               
     marriage was  illegal in most of  the US. That was  the will                                                               
     of  the people.  Blacks and  whites were  not free  to marry                                                               
     until a  unanimous decision  of the  Supreme Court  in 1967.                                                               
     I'm  not arguing  in favor  of gay  marriage; that  point is                                                               
     settled  in  Alaska.  I'm  talking  about  the  incalculable                                                               
     costs,  in family  dissolution, poverty,  bad schools,  high                                                               
     crime, disproportionate  access to  health care,  etc., etc.                                                               
     of  trying to  create and  enforce a  group of  second-class                                                               
     citizens.  And  I'm  talking about  the  spiritual  cost  of                                                               
     SJR  20  fuels  ignorance  and  divisiveness.  Putting  this                                                               
     measure on  the ballot  invites the same  types of  costs as                                                               
     racial  discrimination,  and there  are  many  more gays  in                                                               
     Alaska  than there  are blacks.  Further, public  opinion is                                                               
     changing. Time  Magazine recently  cited a poll  that showed                                                               
     only  eleven  percent  of  Americans  think  that  gays  are                                                               
     exercising a  conscious choice. Sixty  percent of  all women                                                               
     and  thirty-nine  percent  of men  already  understand  that                                                               
     sexual orientation  is innate -  a quality that a  person is                                                               
     born with - like skin color.                                                                                               
     SJR  20 targets  Alaskans and  their children  based on  who                                                               
     they  are.  I  would  like  to  see  some  analysis  of  the                                                               
     implications of that,  fiscal and otherwise, and  I hope you                                                               
     would too.  To get a qualitative  idea of the cost  of anti-                                                               
     gay discrimination, as a member  of the Perseverance Theatre                                                               
     board of directors I invite  you to our spring production of                                                               
     The Laramie Project, a play  about the real-life hate-murder                                                               
     of a gay college student in Wyoming in 1998.                                                                               
11:00:53 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Bunde noted the meeting would technically RECESS to                                                                     
allow the Committee to reconvene the following day for                                                                          
consideration of other legislation.                                                                                             
Vice-Chair Con Bunde adjourned the meeting at 11:01:00 AM                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects