Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska
What's at Stake
Same-sex couples challenging Alaska’s discriminatory tax law
Three Alaska same-sex couples are challenging Alaska’s tax-assessment rules, which unfairly deny same-sex couples equal access to a property tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled veterans. Those who qualify and who live with same-sex partners are only permitted, at most, half of the $150,000 exemption available to opposite-sex married couples because they are treated as roommates rather than families.
The lawsuit charges that denying same-sex couples full access to the exemption violates an earlier Alaska Supreme Court ruling that says that treating same-sex couples differently from different-sex couples violates the state constitution’s equal protection guarantees. The couples involved in the lawsuit are:
- Julie Schmidt, 67, and Gayle Schuh, 62, have been in a committed relationship for 33 years. After retiring from careers in education and selling their home in Illinois, they moved to Alaska and now own a home in Eagle River.
- Julie Vollick and Susan Bernard, who have been together for seven years and are the parents of four children, jointly purchased their Eagle River home in 2004. Vollick retired from the United States Air Force after 20 years of service, including tours in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has service-related disabilities.
- Fred Traber, 62 and Larry Snider, 69, have been together for 28 years, and have had long careers in Alaska, including small-business ownership and government employment. They live in Anchorage.
STATUS: Victory! The Court rules that the property tax exemption violates equal protection because it treats unmarried same-sex couples differently from married heterosexual couples, even though they are similarly situated with respect to the purposes of the program.
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Answer of Municipality of Anchorage
Date Filed: 10/14/2010
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Answer of Alaska
Date Filed: 10/13/2010
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska – Decision and Order
Date Filed: 09/19/2011
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Complaint
Date Filed: 08/03/2010
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - First Demand Letter
Date Filed: 07/24/2009
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment
Date Filed: 07/11/2011
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Reply Brief of Appellant Municipality of Anchorage
Date Filed: 06/04/2012
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Memo in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
Date Filed: 05/11/2011
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Brief of Appellees
Date Filed: 05/09/2012
Alaska v. Schmidt -- Opinion
Date Filed: 04/25/2014
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Supreme Court of the State of Alaska Decision
Date Filed: 04/25/2014
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Brief of Appellant State of Alaska
Date Filed: 03/08/2012
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Brief of Appellant Municipality of Anchorage
Date Filed: 03/06/2012
Schmidt and Schuh v. Alaska - Second Demand Letter
Date Filed: 01/15/2010
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Three Alaska Same-Sex Couples Challenge Discriminatory Tax Law