In 1998, Alaska became the first state in the union to amend its constitution and define marriage as between one man and one woman, and despite a trend among more than a dozen states to legally recognize same-sex marriage, Alaska will hold the line.
Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty recently told the Associated Press that he will defend the state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
In the Feb. 18 interview Geraghty said he will uphold Alaska’s law even as federal courts have struck down laws defining traditional marriage in some other states.
Moreover, Geraghty has joined attorney generals from 10 other states in signing an amicus brief in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Nevada’s constitutional definition of marriage.
Nevada is currently facing a court challenge to its definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
The attorney generals’ statement observes that allowing gay marriage would strip marriage of any meaningful definition.
The statement warns that attempts to redefine marriage as merely “societal validation of personal bonds of affection” leads to the “tragic deconstruction of civil marriage.”
Unlike the goal of “encouraging responsible procreation that underlies traditional marriage, the mere objective of self-validation that inspires same-sex marriage lacks principled limits,” the attorney generals state. “If public affirmation of anyone and everyone’s personal love and commitment is the single purpose of civil marriage, a limitless number of rights claims could be set up that evacuate the term ‘marriage’ of any meaning.”
The statement adds: “Once the natural limits that inhere in the relationship between a man and a woman can no longer sustain the definition of marriage, it follows that any grouping of adults would have an equal claim to marriage.”
A total of 33 states limit marriage to a man and a woman, but a growing number of states — now 17 and the District of Columbia — have moved to allow legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Attorney General Geraghty told the AP that he is not sure how Alaskans’ would vote if a constitutional amendment about the definition of marriage was up for a vote again.
“Would everybody vote the same way today? Who knows? But it’s on the books,” he said of the state’s current definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.