August 28, 2013 | by Staff reports
Alaska considering new policy for LGBT partners
rainbow flag, Alaska, gay news, Washington Blade

The Alaska State Personnel Board is considering including same-sex partners of state employees for the purposes of leave. (Image of Alaska public domain modified with flag photo by Michael Key / Washington Blade)

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Alaska State Personnel Board is considering including same-sex partners of state employees in the definition of “immediate family” for purposes of leave, according to an Associated Press report last week.

A proposed change in rules also would allow state employees to take leave due to a serious health condition of a same-sex partner. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Alaska because of a state constitutional amendment. Nancy Sutch, a deputy director within the state Division of Personnel and Labor Relations, said by email that the proposed change in rules stems from a recent review of a 2005 Alaska Supreme Court decision, the AP reported.

That decision, in a case over health insurance and other benefits, found it is unconstitutional to offer valuable benefits to the spouses of public employees but not to same-sex domestic partners. Sutch told the AP the proposed regulations will set out requirements that are similar to those for insurance coverage, which have been in effect since 2006.

Fuller descriptions of the proposed changes were not immediately available, the AP article said. Same-sex partners of state employees currently can qualify to be on their insurance, provided certain requirements are met.

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