Alaska News

State appeals to 9th U.S. Circuit Court to restore Alaska's same-sex marriage ban

The state of Alaska continued challenging a ruling overturning Alaska's same-sex marriage ban Wednesday.

The state officially filed a petition with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking for "en banc" review on the lower court's decision.

The state argued in its filing that the decision from U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess was incorrect when he found Alaska's same-sex marriage ban to be a violation of due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

The filing notes, "En banc hearing is warranted because Alaska's appeal presents a question of extraordinary importance whose outcome is controlled by erroneous circuit precedent." The filing, written by Washington, D.C.-based attorney S. Kyle Duncan, asks the justices to look at the district court decision separately from the 9th Circuit decision overturning marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.

Attorneys have noted en banc review is difficult to get. Just asking for the review does not mean it is granted, since a majority of the 9th Circuit's 29 judges must agree just to hear the case. From there, a panel of 11 judges, instead of the typical three, decides the matter.

Idaho announced Tuesday it was also seeking en banc review from the court in reconsidering the Latta v. Otter decision. That decision overturned bans in Idaho and Nevada. The decision holds precedent over Alaska.

After a week of legal back-and-forth, marriages in Alaska officially began Monday.

Suzanna Caldwell

Suzanna Caldwell is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in 2017.