On Jan. 28, Alaska state Attorney General Michael Geraghty signed on to an amicus brief in support of Nevada’s voter approved, gay marriage ban, which is being challenged by eight same sex couples. On Monday, however, the Nevada Attorney General decided to drop its defense of the marriage ban, and is now arguing that the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
The Nevada’s AG office told the Ninth Circuit, which was hearing the case, that other court decisions, particularly the Supreme Court’s decision last June in United States v. Windsor which stuck down a part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, “signifies that discrimination against same-sex couples is unconstitutional,” and that the ban “cannot withstand legal scrutiny.”
In January, Alaska’s Geraghty had argued that there is no constitutional right to gay marriage. What happens to that argument now? Or, as Alaska state Sen. Hollis French asked: “If we were willing to follow them before are we willing to follow them now?”
Likely not. The brief, according to the Alaska Department of Law, just goes away.
In other gay rights news:
- On Wednesday in Kentucky, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that the state was constitutionally obligated to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
- Meantime, in Alaska, an amendment failed in the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans’ Affairs that would have granted same-sex couples who are in the military the same perks in applying for driving licenses as other couples. Republican committee co-chair Gabrielle LeDoux said she was going to wait until the Alaska court ruled on another gay rights issue before passing the amendment. “There’s no point in singling out this particular bill right now,” she said. Reps. Max Gruenberg and Neal Foster voted for the amendment. Reps. LeDoux, Pete Higgins and Shelley Hughes voted against it.
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