By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com May 12 2014 8:30 PM ET
Alaska joined the movement for marriage equality today, with a suit filed in U.S. District Court challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“The suit directly challenges the state prohibition on same-sex marriages (which voters amended the Alaska State Constitution to include back in 1998) asserting that the ban violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” reports news website Alaska Commons. It was scheduled to be filed by the close of business today.
Five couples have signed on as plaintiffs. “We are taking a stand because marriage should be available to all loving couples,” said one of the plaintiffs, Matthew Hamby, in a press release. Hamby and Christopher Shelden were married in Canada in 2008 and renewed their vows last year in Utah. “It’s important to us that our family is recognized by the state of Alaska and that we have the same rights and privileges as others,” Hamby added.
The couples are represented by attorneys Heather Gardner, Caitlin Shortell, and Allison Mendel. Alaska governor Sean Parnell, Attorney General Michael Geraghty, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services William Streur, and others are named as defendants in the suit.
With the Alaska suit, of the states that deny marriage rights to same-sex couples, the only ones without marriage equality lawsuits filed are Montana and the Dakotas. A suit is set to be filed in South Dakota soon.