HB 342 Would Recognize Same-Sex Marriages from Other States
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2016
Juneau – Today, Representative Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) introduced House Bill 342, which seeks to make Alaska statutes conform to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized marriage as a right regardless of gender.
“The Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision acknowledged same sex marriage as the law of the land, but that decision is not reflected in our statutes,” said Rep. Josephson. “Despite the housekeeping nature of the changes in this bill, they will have a significant effect in recognizing the rights of same-sex couples in Alaska.”
HB 342 gives same-sex couples the right to adopt, own property as spouses, divorce or dissolve their marriage, have custody over shared children, have power of attorney over a spouse, and many other legal rights already recognized for opposite-sex couples. Additionally, the bill creates a presumption that the spouse of a parent is the second parent of a child born into the marriage, regardless of gender.
“The same-sex marriage issue is settled law and Alaska’s constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality is null and void,” said Rep. Josephson. “However, the language limiting the rights of same-sex couples is still on the books in Alaska. As lawmakers, we should accept the Supreme Court’s decision and make the needed changes to statutes to ensure equality for all couples, despite their gender.”
Rep. Josephson is also the sponsor of House Joint Resolution 1, which proposes a constitutional amendment to remove the language in the Alaska Constitution prohibiting marriage equality in Alaska. Due to the Supreme Court decision that language is unenforceable, but Rep. Josephson believes it is important to remove it from Alaska’s guiding document. HJR 1 has yet to receive a committee hearing.
HB 342 was formally introduced during today’s House floor session. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
For more information, contact John Church in Rep. Josephson’s office at (907) 465-4939.