Judge backs exemption for Alaska same-sex couples

September 19, 2011 - 8:20 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage judge says Alaska same-sex couples are entitled to the same senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemptions as married couples.

Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner (FIF'-ner) ruled in a 34-page decision that the state's marital classification violates the Alaska Constitution's equal protection clause.

ACLU of Alaska and the national American Civil Liberties Union challenged assessment rules on behalf of three Alaska couples denied a full $150,000 property tax exemption. ACLU of Alaska says in statement Monday that the couples were in committed relationships but were treated as roommates rather than families.

Alaska voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in 1998 that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

A spokeswoman for the governor's office says the state is reviewing the ruling.