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Alaskan Mayoral Candidate Insinuates Her Pro-LGBT Opponent Supports Incest Marriage


As the city of Anchorage, Alaska gears up for its upcoming mayoral election, the race is beginning to take a tone for the uncouth. Earlier this week during an interview with conservative radio host Casey Reynolds, current mayoral candidate Amy Demboski insinuated that there might be some truth to allegations about her opponent Ethan Berkowitz supported the idea of incestuous marriages.

Rumors began to spread last year after Jerry Prevo, a local conservative pastor, alleged that Berkowitz supported fathers marrying their sons. To clarify Berkowitz himself has never said anything to that effect. According to Reynolds, he only asked Demboski the question in order to gauge whether or not she’d even entertain the accusations. Surprisingly Demboski went along with the idea, expressing that she’d be interested in hearing the sermon in which the rumors first began.

“I don't know anything about pedophilia, but I know, when I listened to 'Bernadette and Berkowitz,' oh, last year, I remember the conversation,” said Demboski. “And I remember him saying that people should be allowed to marry anything, and he said he supported if a dad wanted to marry his son. I remember him saying it but I don't remember exactly his words.”

Later on as word spread of Demboski’s willingness to run with the idea of her opponent being a supporter of incest, her office began to refuse media inquiry about her interview.

“I was dumbfounded, left speechless," Reynolds said to the Alaska Dispatch News. “I never would have expected her to stand by that as a reasonable inference of her opponent’s positions.”

In the past Berkowitz has been a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and protections in Anchorage. Berkowitz’s office has been steadfast in refusing to acknowledge the accusations being leveled at him.

Read the full transcript from Demboski's interview with Casey Reynolds AFTER THE JUMP...

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Alaskan Tribal Council Representing Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes Moves To Recognize Gay Marriage


The joint council representing the indigenous Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska have unanimously agreed to amend traditional tribal laws in order to recognize same-sex marriages.

“We are pleased to expand our Tribal Court to meet the needs of our tribal citizens,” said Tribal Court Chief Justice Debra O’Gara in a prepared statement. ”Our court can now be utilized by tribal citizens for the happy occasion of marriage without discrimination and regardless of gender.”

The Tribal Council’s new decision will maintain the tradition of requiring that at least one member of a couple be an active and enrolled member of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes.

According to Tribal President Richard Peterson there was no one couple in particular that was agitating for the change in tribal law, but rather the Council’s decision came at a time that felt right and in accordance with the public’s current spirit.

States Defending Gay Marriage Bans Costing Taxpayers Millions In Attorney Fees


Plaintiffs in successful same-sex marriage lawsuits have been awarded more than $800,000 in attorneys fees' from states that defended the bans, with another $2.6 million in requests pending, according to a new report from The National Law Journal: 

Federal district judges across the country have issued nearly three dozen rulings since late 2013 declaring state same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. Attorney fee petitions haven't been filed yet in the majority of those cases as they go before circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The fee awards, agreements and requests to date offer an early snapshot of what these landmark civil rights cases could cost taxpayers. ... 

Plaintiffs who prevail in federal civil rights cases can collect legal fees from the losing side. Congress set up the fee-shifting rule as an incentive for lawyers to take on time-consuming and expensive civil rights litigation, said Deborah Ferguson, lead counsel for the couples who fought Idaho's gay marriage ban.

In Idaho, the plaintiffs' attorneys were awarded a whopping $410,663 — the most in any state thus far. But that hasn't stopped Republican Gov. Butch Otter from continuing his futile defense of the state's marriage ban in court. The other states where plaintiffs' attorneys fees have been awarded or agreed to in same-sex marriage cases are Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon and Virginia. Requests are pending in Alaska, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

Of course, the plaintiffs' attorneys fees don't include the cost to taxpayers of states paying their lawyers or hiring outside counsel to defend the bans — or, for that matter, lost revenue from wedding-related spending where same-sex marriage is still not legal. 

All told, it seems that defending discrimination isn't cheap, and states that continue to fight same-sex marriage better be prepared to pay up. And the irony is, many of the same folks who advocate lower taxes are the same ones fighting hardest to deprive same-sex couples of the freedom to marry.  

Gay Couple's Home in Alaska Targeted with Sign Reading 'Fags Die'


A gay couple living in Anchorage, Alaska had their home and car struck by vandals this week.

Adam Jacobson says that he discovered a frozen soupy substance on the couple's mailbox, an eggshell on the front porch, and a few empty jars in their backyard.

But it was what they found on the windshield of their car that really disturbed them, KTVA reports.

Someone had walked up their driveway to place a sign made up of many smaller signs on the vehicle, which had a swastika on it, and said "FAG FREE ZONE", "White Power", "Fags Die, God Laughs, Homosexuality is Sin", "I Hate You, "Two Men Should Friends! Not Butt Buddies!!!", "Homos are possessed by demons", and "God Hates Fag Enablers".

Jacobson and his husband have lived in their current home for four years. He says that friends and members of the community have been supportive since the incident.

He attributes the hate as a reaction to the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in Alaska, and says the haters are "feeling marginalized and feeling like sort of victims of the progressive moment."

Eric Holder Announces Federal Government Will Recognize Gay Marriages in Six More States


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will recognize same-sex married couples in six additional states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Last week, Holder made a similar announcement regarding federal recognition of same-sex marriages in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Colorado. 

Via press release:

The Attorney General’s announcement means couples married in these states will now qualify for a range of federal benefits, including those administered by the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs.

“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving of full equality for all Americans,” the Attorney General said. “We are acting as quickly as possible with agencies throughout the government to ensure that same-sex married couples in these states receive the fullest array of benefits allowable under federal law.”

In addition, the Attorney General also announced that the Department of Justice has determined it can legally recognize marriages performed in Indiana and Wisconsin this past June. These marriages were performed immediately after federal district courts ruled that those states’ bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, but subsequent developments created confusion about the status of those marriages. Based on the Attorney General’s announcement, however, those couples married during that period will now have their unions recognized by the federal government.

Alaska Files Petition for Full Ninth Circuit Review of Gay Marriage Ruling


Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty [pictured below] has filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for "en banc" review of a federal judge's ruling overturning the state's gay marriage ban, Alaska Dispatch News reports:

GeraghtyThe 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.

The Washington Blade adds:

Doug NeJaime, a law professor at University of California, Irvine, said he doesn’t think the full Ninth Circuit will grant review of the marriage cases in the first place.

“Of course, the first question is whether en banc review is granted,” NeJaime said. “Given the Supreme Court’s action a couple weeks ago, there may not be many judges that want to spend resources reviewing the panel decision. And then there is certainly reason, given that Perry was also decided in the Ninth Circuit, to think a different result is unlikely.”

Earlier this week, Idaho Governor Butch Otter filed a similar petition with the Ninth Circuit seeking "en banc" review of the case challenging the state's gay marriage ban. Marriage equality has already begun in both states.

Read the Alaska petition below, via Equality Case Files:


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