Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 23, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 38
Alaska judge OKs tax breaks for same-sex couples
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Alaska judge OKs tax breaks for same-sex couples

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Same-sex couples in Alaska are entitled to the same tax exemptions as opposite-sex married couples, a judge ruled September 16.

Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner wrote in his decision that the state's marriage requirement violates the equal protection clause in the Alaska state constitution.

Same-sex couples must get the same senior-citizen and disabled-veteran exemptions from state property taxes as married couples, Pfiffner ruled.

The case was filed by the ACLU of Alaska and the national ACLU on behalf of three couples from Anchorage who were denied tax breaks they would have been entitled to if they were married.

Alaska tax law allows seniors over age 65 and disabled veterans to exclude the first $150,000 of assessed value from their property tax liability.

Married couples get the exemption whether the home is owned by the husband, the wife, or both of then jointly.

In 1998, Alaska voters approved an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, thus preventing same-sex couples from marrying.

Pfiffner said the marriage amendment only addresses the definition of marriage and does not, as the state contended, mention the associated benefits of marriage.

He agreed with the ACLU that a state statute excluding same-sex couples from 'being entitled to the benefits of marriage' does not alter the constitutional right to equal protection.

Pfiffner's ruling means that while same-sex couples are disqualified from marriage, they are not disqualified from the same rights as opposite-sex married couples.

Pfiffner said the state did not distinguish this case from a 2005 Alaska Supreme Court ruling on discrimination based on sexual orientation. In that case, also brought by the Alaska ACLU, the court said the same-sex domestic partners of state and municipal employees could not be denied benefits given to married spouses.

Alaska's Assistant Attorney General Rachel Witty told CBS News that the state is reviewing the 34-page decision and assessing its options.

All the plaintiff couples were in committed relationships but were treated by the law as roommates rather than families, according to the Alaska ACLU.

ACLU spokesperson Jeffrey Mittman said that one couple, Julie Schmidt and Gayle Schuh, had been together 34 years.

In his ruling Pfiffner noted that Schmidt, 67, and Schuh, 62, co-owned a home in Eagle River since 2006. Schmidt qualified for the exemption but was unable to exempt the full amount because the law deemed her the occupant of only half the house.

'Gayle and I moved, built a home and a life here because we love what Alaska has to offer,' Schmidt said in the ACLU announcement. 'It hurt that the state that we value so much treated us like strangers. It is gratifying to finally have our relationship recognized.'

Two other plaintiffs - Julie Vollick, a permanently disabled military veteran, and her former same-sex domestic partner, Susan Bernard - had a similar experience.

Vollick co-owned a home with Bernard from 2004 until 2010. If Vollick and Bernard had been married, Vollick would have received a $528 greater tax benefit from the exemption, the judge said.

The couple has since separated.

The other plaintiffs were Fred Traber, 62, and Laurence Snyder, 69, a same-sex couple who share a condominium in Anchorage. Snyder qualified for the tax exemption, but the home is in Traber's name and Snyder was unable to claim any part of the tax exemption.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Obama issues statement on repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
------------------------------
OUTLoud fights against high LGBT teen suicide rates
------------------------------
President Obama to deliver keynote address at HRC National Dinner
------------------------------
ACLU goes to court for equal military separation pay
------------------------------
General Gayety: Matchmaker, find me a find (or don't!)
------------------------------
Navy clears Gay WWII vet's record
------------------------------
Brian Scott Fairbrother, 1960-2011
------------------------------
Sen. Kerry introduces LGBT fair housing bill
Sen. Patty Murray signs on as cosponsor

------------------------------
Man charged with hate crime in Pike Street assault
------------------------------
Alaska judge OKs tax breaks for same-sex couples
------------------------------
Social Security Administration ends 'Gender No-Match' letters
White House 'welcomes this move'

------------------------------
Gamers map structure of protease
------------------------------
HIV-positive men of color not using meds, study says
------------------------------
Mumbai police raid Gay party, arrest 133
------------------------------
Marriage equality in U.K. by 2015, government says
------------------------------
Mainstream Christians must stand up to the religious Right
------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
White House advisor praises DADT repeal
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
NCLR Responds to Execution of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia
------------------------------
Census Bureau Releases Estimates of Same-Sex Married Couples
------------------------------
Rights Collide as Town Clerk Sidesteps Role in Gay Marriages
------------------------------
'Flying while lesbian,' SW's new excuse for kicking Leisha Hailey off flight: She didn't submit
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News