"Yes" on April 3rd
By Rep. John Coghill
March 30, 2007
The Constitution of the State of Alaska clearly states that "all
political power is inherent in the people." In October of
last year, The Alaska Supreme Court ruled in favor of granting
employee benefits to same-sex couples, in effect undermining
this Constitutional provision and establishing its own will as
having precedent over the will of the people of Alaska.
By deliberately ignoring the
clear message sent by Alaskan voters in 1998 when they overwhelming
amended the Constitution to read that "a marriage may only
exist between a man and a woman," the Supreme Court overstepped
its bounds. The key to correcting this misdeed and reestablishing
the constitutionally guaranteed series of checks-and-balances
is the April 3rd Advisory Vote on Same Sex Benefits.
In a few weeks, the people
of Alaska need to once again remind the Legislature that we will
not tolerate judges legislating from the bench. A "Yes"
vote on the April ballot will give legislators the extra push
needed in order to again amend the constitution.
Some objections to the vote
are based on three different ideas:
- The advisory vote is estimated
to cost one million dollars; the legislature can find a better
purpose for the money.
The Supreme Court has ordered
Alaskans to pay for a benefit that the majority of people disagree
with philosophically. Once the state requires same-sex benefits
for partners of state employees, it is only a few more legal
steps until private businesses are forced to provide the same
benefits lest they "discriminate". Such a broad-reaching
policy decision deserves to be openly debated in a broad public
venue - that debate costs money. I believe there is no better
way for Alaska's money to be spent than by furthering the will
of the people.
- Objection to same-sex benefits
is a result of religious bigotry.
The issue at hand is not the
morality of homosexuality, but rather the court's deliberate
misinterpretation of the will of the people of Alaska. The people
voted that same sex unions are not the same as a marriage. Married
couples commit to each other for life, and with that level of
commitment, the state recognizes the married couple's right to
benefits for spouses. The Court set no mandates for proof of
commitment other than a state employee's designation on a form.
- A special election will weary
already skeptical voters.
Weariness is not an excuse
for apathy. I am weary after every session, but the people elect
me to support and defend the Constitution, and fighting for this
advisory vote does exactly that. I am looking to the people of
Alaska to once again cast a vote in defense of marriage and reclaim
the rights usurped by the Supreme Court.
If Alaskans allow this decision
to pass without objection, we will be setting a precedent that
allows the Supreme Court to disregard the will of the people
About: Rep. John Coghill is
a member of the Alaska Legislature representing House District
11- North Pole.
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