Extend Employment Benefits to Same-Sex Partners in Alaska

Same-sex marriage

Target: Alaska State Personnel Board

Goal: Allow Alaska’s gay workers personal leave to care for their sick or dying spouses

The Alaska State Personnel Board will soon decide whether to include same-sex partners in its definition of “immediate family” in the criteria for its state employees to take personal leave when a spouse is ill. A proposed change in rules would allow state employees to take leave due to a same-sex partner having a serious health condition.

Due to a state constitutional amendment, same-sex marriage is not legal is Alaska. However, a recent review of a 2005 Alaska Supreme Court decision found it unconstitutional to offer valuable benefits to the spouses of public employees without also extending those benefits to same-sex partners.

Same-sex partners of state employees in Alaska can currently share insurance plans, but have to jump through a series of hoops to make it happen. Same-sex partners are already denied so many key benefits that heterosexual couples receive with ease. For purposes of leave, same-sex partners currently are not included in the definition of “immediate family.”

Recently, a Juneau corrections officer sought to take family leave to care for her partner, who was undergoing rigorous cancer treatment, but was met with resistance from the state. This corrections officer and other state employees in same-sex unions deserve the basic right of being able to be there for their loved ones in dire times. Sign the petition below to encourage the Alaska State Personnel Board to allow LGBT state employees to be there to support their partners when undergoing medical treatment.


Dear Alaska State Personnel Board,

The upcoming decision about whether or not to include same-sex partners in the definition of “immediate family” for purposes of state employees taking personal leave is a very important decision and could be a key step toward granting essential benefits to LGBT state employees in Alaska.

Same-sex partners are already not afforded so many benefits despite a recent review of a 2005 Alaska Supreme Court decision that found it to be unconstitutional to offer valuable benefits to the spouses of public employees without also extending those benefits to same-sex partners.

State employees with same-sex partners who are ill or going through medical treatment deserve to be able to take leave just as heterosexual couples are allowed to. I urge you to approve the proposed change that would allow them to do so.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Magnus Manske via WikiMedia Commons

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41 Signatures

  • Alice Rim
  • Hermann Kastner
  • James Thrailkill
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Mal Gaff
  • Holly Hall
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Melanie waleski
  • Marianne Oelman
  • Ricki Newman
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