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Respect rights of all

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I swear we live in a caste society. You know, where the king is dictator, the knights have good benefits and the serfs have limited benefits. The recent Alaska Supreme Court decision to remove the caste system from gay and lesbians seeking benefits for their partners is great.

But many politicians still do not respect all of their constituents. Remember when women had no vote? Black Americans? Native Americans? Why do society and politicians still discriminate against classes of people?

Separate, but in conjunction to same-sex benefits are heterosexual benefits for unmarried couples. Maybe it's because Alaska is such a young state that common law marriage has never been enacted here. But the times are calling for a change.

I'm not married, but I've been in the same committed heterosexual relationship with my "significant other" for over 20 years. In addition to benefits for same-sex couples, I hope the Supreme Court extends benefits to cover heterosexual couples in committed relationships too.

We are a young and rural state. Much of our population is Alaska Native. Indigenous peoples whom, only in their most recent history, were made to adapt outside customs including the legality of marriage.

You've heard of cultural diversity? The respect for others' cultures? Let's respect everyone's rights and cultures - gay, lesbian, heterosexuals or committed couples along with their individual conventional or traditional marriage/union customs.

And if the state governments nationwide do not want to allow marriage between a committed couple, then why can't they allow couples a legal unification in order to protect their rights without conventional marriage?

We aren't all married white Protestants. So please respect everyone's rights. The two heterosexuals who want to live together without marriage, the gay couples who live together yet cannot provide legal documents to protect their rights, the individuals who cohabitate with their mates without the traditional modern marriage contract. And then, what about all their children?

Alice Albrecht

Juneau



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