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Alaska Supreme Court Implements Survivor Benefits for Gay Couples

AlaskaGay marriage is not legal in the state of Alaska, but on Friday the state's Supreme Court made a major decision the state's fight for equality.

The court ruled the case of Harris v. Millennium Hotel, and their verdict ensures same-sex couples in Alaska are now offered the same survivor benefits as their straight counterparts. The ruling extends the scope of the state's workers’ compensation law, which requires employers to provide benefits to the spouse of a person who dies from a work-related injury.

Now everyone will have their day in court.

The case of Harris v. Millennium Hotel was filed by Lambda Legal, on behalf of Deborah Harris, who was seeking survivor benefits after her partner Kerry Fadely was killed by a disgruntled former employee at her place of employment, Anchorage’s Millennium Hotel.

(h/t Lambda Legal)

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  1. Courts do not implement.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 27, 2014 5:10:52 PM

  2. Since it is illegal in Alaska, where does one register their partner as a spouse? Obviously not with the state. They have to register their relationship with the employer? In this court case, the plaintiff is claiming surviving spouse benefits only after the death of the partner. That means no registration is necessary. Only proof is necessary to claim survivor's benefits.

    Posted by: simon | Jul 27, 2014 5:32:53 PM

  3. @ Simon - my employer considered my partner to be my spouse when I was able to show them that our finances had been intermingled for three years. A joint checking account was all it took.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jul 27, 2014 7:51:57 PM

  4. brian brown's penis just shrunk another centimeter. pretty soon you won't be able to see it at all...

    Posted by: woody | Jul 27, 2014 9:22:54 PM

  5. Nope, but courts grant standing to SUE and companies are "lawsuit averse" and what the Alaska Supreme Court just did was open a whole big can of Whup-ass and give notice to EVERYONE doing business in AK that they can't treat employees "differently" in this respect.

    It is a very short step from that to be granted spousal benefits while alive or you sue. And if companies cannot treat employees differently, why can the state? In fact, I think they are recognizing that the 9th Circuit's ruling that we're a suspect class means if a case about SSM comes before the AK Supremes, they'll find in our favor.

    This is a very big deal. And BB's penis is already an innie. That is why he's squawking so loudly.

    Posted by: ben~andy | Jul 28, 2014 2:48:47 AM

  6. is it, ben-andy? i thought it was an angry inch.

    Posted by: woody | Jul 28, 2014 8:47:50 AM

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