Alaska joins US states permitting gay marriage

Washington, Oct 14 (IANS/EFE) Gay couples in the US state of Alaska may now request for the necessary documents to marry due to a court ruling that after 16 years revoked the constitutional amendment banning such unions.

In a ruling issued late Sunday, federal Judge Timothy Burgess found in favour of five gay couples who had sued the state of Alaska in an attempt to nullify the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1998.

The judge said in his ruling that the amendment violates due process and the equal protection clause of the US Constitution.

Alaska authorities may appeal the ruling.

Alaska and Hawaii in 1998 were the first states to pass constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage.

Recent decisions by the US Supreme Court and other lower courts have resulted in there being more than 30 US states that now allow gay marriage.

A week ago, the US high court rejected the appeals of five states -- Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana -- which were seeking to prohibit gay marriage in a ruling that cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry in six other states: Colorado, Kansas, North and South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Just a day later, a federal appeals court issued a ruling overturning the prohibitions on gay marriage in Idaho and Nevada.

Nevertheless, a Supreme Court justice later imposed a temporary suspension on gay marriage in Idaho.

Analysts believed that the high court was going to find in favour of same-sex unions in at least one or two cases concerning gay marriage during the recently-begun judicial session by issuing a ruling with national implications before June 2015.

However, the Supreme Court has avoided entering into the debate on the legalisation of gay marriage on the national level.


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Title: Alaska joins US states permitting gay marriage

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