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:
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.