Alaska may make gay partners ‘family’

Time
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August 26, 2013

(JUNEAU, Alaska) — The Alaska State Personnel Board is considering including same-sex partners of state employees in the definition of “immediate family” for purposes of leave.

The proposed change in rules would allow state employees to take leave due to a serious health condition of a same-sex partner.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Alaska because of a state constitutional amendment. Nancy Sutch, a deputy director within the state Division of Personnel and Labor Relations, said by email that the proposed change in rules stems from a recent review of a 2005 Alaska Supreme Court decision.

That decision, in a case over health insurance and other benefits, found it is unconstitutional to offer valuable benefits to the spouses of public employees but not to same-sex domestic partners.