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Alaska District Court declares same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled Sunday that Alaska’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, paving the way for gay couples to begin marrying in the state for the first time.

“The court finds that Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same sex marriages lawfully entered in other states is unconstitutional as a deprivation of basic due process and equal protection principles under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess wrote in a order in the case Hamby v. Parnell, released Sunday.

The Hamby suit was filed in May by five same-sex couples. It challenged the state’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman, approved by voters in 1998.

The ruling comes less than a week after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to overturn similar marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. Same-sex marriage advocates said the 9th Circuit ruling would likely lead to the quick overturn of Alaska’s ban on gay marriage because the bans were similar and Alaska also falls under the jurisdiction of that court.

The ruling can be read here.

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