An Alaska state judge has ruled that same-sex couples are legally entitled to the same senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemptions as opposite-sex couples.
The Washington Post reports that Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner’s decision, signed Friday and released Monday by ACLU of Alaska, says the state’s marital classification violates the Alaska Constitution’s equal protection clause.
On behalf of three same-sex couples who were denied tax breaks they would have received if their union had been recognized by the state, ACLU of Alaska and the national American Civil Liberties Union challenged the state's rules for tax assessment, such as the one that entitles married couples over 65 to exclude the first $150,000 of assessed value of their primary home from property taxes, regardless of which spouse holds title to the home.
Julie Schmidt and Gayle Schuh, together 34 years, were denied the exemption. “Gayle and I moved, built a home and a life here because we love what Alaska has to offer,” Schmidt said in an announcement from the ACLU. “It is gratifying to finally have our relationship recognized.”
According to Assistant Attorney General Rachel Witty, the state will review the judge’s ruling and assess its options.
Read the full article here.