Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 30, Ed. 1 Friday, November 21, 1997 Page: 12 of 80
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Gay couple in Alaska files
suit seeking right to marry
By Jim Clarks recognize the marriages, rather than the
Associated Press constitutional implications.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Jay Brause John Gaguine, an assistant attorney
and Gene Dugan have lived together general, told Michalski the matter is not
for nearly two decades, maintaining a a constitutional one, but that even if it
home like any married couple. was, the state still shouldn't have to rec-
Except they're not married. A state ognize Brause and Dugan's relation-
law passed in 1996 specifically bans ship.
same-gender marriages, and state poli- "There's no fundamental right at
cy before then has blocked it. issue here," Gaguine said. "The inter-
Now the men are asking the state ests here are, at best, economic inter-
court to declare the law unconstitution- ests."
al and to force the state to formally rec- He suggested that individual
ognize their relationship — something statutes that may discriminate against
only Hawaii now does. gay couples should be considered indi-
In arguments last Friday before vidually rather than by forcing the state
Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski, to recognize same-gender marriages,
an attorney for Brause and Dugan said "What the plaintiffs are requesting is
the state is punishing the men by refus- largely akin to throwing the baby out
ing to grant them a marriage license, with the bath water," he said.
More than 100 state statutes provide Michalski could have ruled on the
rights or protections to married cou- question immediately after last Friday's
pies, but they're not available to gay or hearing but chose not to. It's not known
lesbian couples who live together in a when he will rule,
long-term relationship, said attorney When the Legislature passed the law
Robert Wagstaff. banning same-gender marriage, it also
Those rights include the ability of approved a proposal banning mandato-
spouses to sue for wrongful death, to ry health coverage for unmarried part-
share in a spouse's assets in case of ners of public employees,
death and to be included in health That move followed a Superior
insurance policies. Court ruling that the University of
Wagstaff argued that the Alaska Alaska's health-care policy discriminat-
Constitution forbids discrimination ed based on marital status,
based on gender, and that the 1996 law - The university has appealed to the
banning same-gender marriage plainly Alaska Supreme Court. IRe university
violates the constitution. also has offered a temporary benefits
Still, he said he is emphasizing the package which covers its employees'
negative impacts of the state's refusal to so-called "spousal equivalents." T
Detroit council considers measure
giving benefits to domestic partners
Associated Press would enable nonunion city employees
DETROIT — The City Council is to declare their partners as dependents
considering legislation that would so they could collect life and health
allow benefits for the domestic partners insurance benefits, the paper said in a
of city employees. story Tuesday.
The measure would apply to gay If adopted, Detroit's ordinances
couples and unmarried straight part- would be in line with those found in at
ners. least 20 other cities — including Ann
"This does indicate movement for- Arbor — which already recognize
ward on this issue," Jeffrey domestic partnerships.
Montgomery, president of the gay None of the council members would
rights advocacy group Triangle comment on the legislation Monday.
Foundation, told the Detroit Free Press. Mayor Dennis Archer would not say
"We look forward to going through the whether he will support it.
process. It's very encouraging." "He's not going to deal with that
The legislation, submitted by measure until it's presented to him by
Councilman Clyde Cleveland, would the City Council," Anthony Neely,
allow any committed adult couple to Archer's press secretary, told the Free
register with the city as a family. It also Press. ▼
NOVEMBER 21, 1997 DALLAS VOICE
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 30, Ed. 1 Friday, November 21, 1997, newspaper, November 21, 1997; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth616180/m1/12/?q=RIO%20VISTA: accessed October 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.