Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/03/2017 01:00 PM House JUDICIARY

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01:03:26 PM Start
01:04:09 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
01:16:42 PM HB20
03:13:31 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: APOC TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          HB 20-SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGE: ELECTED OFFICIALS                                                                       
1:16:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                              
HOUSE BILL  NO. 20,  "An Act relating  to marriage  solemnization;                                                              
and  authorizing   elected  public  officials  in   the  state  to                                                              
solemnize marriages."                                                                                                           
Chair Claman  advised he is the  sponsor of HB 20, and  passed the                                                              
gavel to Vice-Chair Fansler.                                                                                                    
1:17:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  moved  to  adopt committee  substitute  to  HB  20,                                                              
Version 30-LS0242\J as the working document.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN objected for discussion.                                                                                 
1:18:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN explained  that  the  House State  Affairs  Standing                                                              
Committee  adopted  an  amendment  clarifying the  ability  for  a                                                              
public  official  to decline  to  solemnize  a marriage,  and  the                                                              
adopted  committee  substitute  offers a  slight  modification  of                                                              
that language.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN  noted  that   the  committee   had  been                                                              
reviewing  the  original  draft   from  the  House  State  Affairs                                                              
Standing  Committee   [Version  D],   and  that  amendments   were                                                              
prepared based  upon Version  D.  He  suggested keeping  Version D                                                              
in  front of  the  committee  based  upon the  previously  drafted                                                              
amendments.   He noted that  the language  in Version J,  [page 2,                                                              
line 3] states that  "a public official may refuse  to solemnize a                                                              
marriage  for any reason,"  with additional  reasons listed  after                                                              
that  and it was  confusing  to him.   For clarity,  he opined  it                                                              
should simply be left at "for any reason period."                                                                               
1:20:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP agreed,  and said  there should  be a  period                                                              
inserted after  "for any reason."   He said he could see  a public                                                              
official refusing  because the public  official may  have personal                                                              
history with  one or other, or  be aware of other  incompatibility                                                              
issues,  and  such.    In  the  event  the  provision  spells  out                                                              
specific  reasons,  as this  bill  progresses  he could  see  more                                                              
people adding more reasons spelled out.                                                                                         
CHAIR CLAMAN pointed  out that the committee is  not debating what                                                              
the bill should  look like, this discussion is  to whether Version                                                              
J should  be adopted.   He reminded the  committee that  Version J                                                              
had  been circulated  several days  ago to  the entire  committee,                                                              
with  the  thought  that  folks seeking  an  amendment  would  use                                                              
Version J as their requested amendment.                                                                                         
1:21:34 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  FANSLER  advised  that any  amendments  drawn  up  on                                                              
Version  D  would  be  run  by   Legislative  Legal  and  Research                                                              
Services and it  has the ability to conform those  amendments into                                                              
Version D.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN withdrew his objection to Version J.                                                                     
VICE CHAIR  FANSLER noted that  there being no objection,  Version                                                              
J was before the committee.                                                                                                     
1:22:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  offered an  opening statement  as follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Good afternoon.  For the record my name is  Matt Claman,                                                                   
     Alaska  State Representative  for House  District 21  in                                                                   
     West  Anchorage.  I would  like  to  thank you  all  for                                                                   
     hearing House Bill 20 today.                                                                                               
     First,  in financially  challenging times  like we  face                                                                   
     today,  I'm reminded that  part of  our role as  elected                                                                   
     government  officials is  to  reduce red  tape and  make                                                                   
     government  accessible  to  the public.  In  introducing                                                                   
     this  bill  I'd  like  to   make  marriage  more  easily                                                                   
     accessible. This  bill will allow couples to  have their                                                                   
     marriages solemnized  directly by elected  officials. It                                                                   
     allows us  to be the  friendly face of government  while                                                                   
     providing  a   user-friendly  service  to   the  public.                                                                   
     Finally,  being able to  perform a  marriage would  be a                                                                   
     privilege  and  we  would   be  fortunate  to  have  the                                                                   
     With  that, I  will turn  it  over to  my staff  member,                                                                   
     Sara Perman, to explain the bill to you further.                                                                           
1:23:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SARAH PERMAN, Staff, Representative Matt Claman, Alaska State                                                                   
Legislature, offered a sectional analysis as follows [original                                                                  
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     For  the  record,  my  name  is  Sara  Perman,  aide  to                                                                   
     Representative  Claman. Thank you  to the committee  for                                                                   
     hearing House Bill 20 today.                                                                                               
     As a great  80s classic quotes: "Marriage.   Marriage is                                                                   
     what brings  us together today…"   House Bill  20 amends                                                                   
     the  Alaska Marriage  Code to add  language that  allows                                                                   
     for  marriages to  be solemnized  by elective  officials                                                                   
     of the state of Alaska.                                                                                                    
     Section  1 amends Alaska  Statute 25.05.261(a)  relating                                                                   
     to who may  solemnize a marriage. Currently  the statute                                                                   
     only allows for marriage solemnization by                                                                                  
     •    a   minister,   priest,  rabbi,   or   commissioned                                                                   
     officer  of  the Salvation  Army,  or by  the  principal                                                                   
     officer   or    elder   of   recognized    churches   or                                                                   
     •    a marriage commissioner or judicial officer,                                                                          
     •    or  before  or  in any  religious  organization  or                                                                   
     congregation   House  Bill 20 adds  language to  include                                                                   
     "an  individual holding  an  elective  public office  in                                                                   
     the  state; an  individual  holding an  elective  public                                                                   
     office in the  state may refuse to solemnize  a marriage                                                                   
     for  any  reason,  including for  reasons  of  religious                                                                   
     scruple or conscience".                                                                                                    
     Section   2  (AS  25.05.281)   is  amended  to   include                                                                   
     language  that   reads  that  marriages   solemnized  by                                                                   
     elective officials are considered valid.                                                                                   
     The purpose  of the bill is to make  marriage accessible                                                                   
     to  all  Alaskan's.  We recognize  that  marriage  opens                                                                   
     doors  for  people.  There  are  over  1,100  places  in                                                                   
     federal laws  and programs  where being married  makes a                                                                   
     difference,  such as  providing  access  to health  care                                                                   
     for  one's  spouse  or  having  eligibility  for  family                                                                   
     medical leave.  Frankly, we believe that this  bill is a                                                                   
     family-first   bill  that   allows  people  to   receive                                                                   
     greater benefits that are good for all Alaskans.                                                                           
     •    HB  20 also  allows elected  officials  to be  good                                                                   
     stewards  of government.  It  allows elective  officials                                                                   
     to  interact on  a  one-on-one basis  with  constituents                                                                   
     providing  a  service  that  has  a  lasting  impact  on                                                                   
     constituents' lives.                                                                                                       
     •    Whereas   couples   can   currently   have   anyone                                                                   
     solemnize  a marriage  through  a Marriage  Commissioner                                                                   
     Appointment, there  is a $25 fee and the  process can be                                                                   
     time  consuming. Having  an  elected official  available                                                                   
     provides a simplified cost-free outlet.                                                                                    
     •    This amendment  may also  apply to couples  who may                                                                   
     not   be   affiliated  with   a   particular   religious                                                                   
     organization.  They would  be  able to  have an  elected                                                                   
     official  perform their  wedding  without  having to  go                                                                   
     through  the   process  of  arranging  for   a  marriage                                                                   
     commissioner appointment.                                                                                                  
     •    In  smaller  towns  or  rural  areas  with  limited                                                                   
     resources-  this change  provides  one  more outlet  for                                                                   
     marriage solemnization.  For example,  if a couple  in a                                                                   
     remote  Alaskan village are  set to  be married and  the                                                                   
     minister becomes  ill, the mayor could step  in on short                                                                   
     With that, I'll  note that the Department  of Health and                                                                   
     Social  Services  has assigned  a  zero fiscal  note  to                                                                   
     this bill.  This bill also  may remove a financial  cost                                                                   
     to citizens  who would otherwise pay $25 for  a Marriage                                                                   
     Commissioner Appointment.                                                                                                  
     With  that Mr.  Chair, I would  be happy  to answer  any                                                                   
     questions the committee may have.                                                                                          
1:26:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  said  there  does  not  appear  to  be  a                                                              
compelling reason  to require Alaskans  to pay a $25 charge  to be                                                              
married by an  elected official, and asked whether  there would be                                                              
a  $25 charge  under  other circumstances.    He  related that  he                                                              
cannot  see why  public  officials  would "be  on  a pedestal"  or                                                              
treated  any  better  or  differently than  anyone  else,  and  be                                                              
exempt from the $25 fee other people are required to pay.                                                                       
CHAIR CLAMAN  responded that  the people  getting married  pay the                                                              
$25 fee,  and this is  an effort to make  it easier for  those who                                                              
prefer  to  get  married  in  that  fashion.    There  is  a  long                                                              
tradition  of having  certain  individuals  authorized to  perform                                                              
marriages in light  of religious figures, and under  maritime law,                                                              
captains  on   ships  have  the   authority  at  sea   to  perform                                                              
marriages.   The country  has always  recognized that  everyone is                                                              
not  authorized  to  solemnize  marriage,  and  people  have  made                                                              
choices  about having  some limits.    This, he  explained, is  an                                                              
effort  to have  folks, recognized  as  public officials,  perform                                                              
the ceremony.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN commented  that the  bill is about  making                                                              
marriage easier  to accomplish,  and in  current statute  and this                                                              
bill, it  doesn't change  the fact  that any Alaskan  can go  to a                                                              
courthouse and  become a marriage  commissioner.  He  related that                                                              
he  still doesn't  see  the reason  for  requiring  someone to  go                                                              
through  the extra  overhead and  expense of  becoming a  marriage                                                              
commissioner  if that  statute says  that anyone  can perform  the                                                              
marriage  anyway.   He commented  that the  committee should  just                                                              
recognize  that anyone  can perform  the marriage  and they  don't                                                              
need the government  giving them a piece of paper  saying they are                                                              
a  marriage  commissioner  because   the  state  is  not  vetting,                                                              
filtering, or  requiring training.   He said  he is  not convinced                                                              
the state should charge anyone any money.                                                                                       
VICE  CHAIR  FANSLER asked  that  he  save  his comments  for  the                                                              
1:30:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  said  he   appreciates  the  spirit  of  the                                                              
amendment  in the  House State  Affairs  Standing Committee  about                                                              
giving  permissive  language,  and  certainly it  does  honor  the                                                              
conscience of  being an  elected official.   He asked  whether the                                                              
sponsor would  be willing  to extend  that permissive  language to                                                              
leaders of recognized churches and their congregations.                                                                         
CHAIR  CLAMAN opined  that [AS  25.05.261(a)]  paragraphs (1)  and                                                              
(3)  in  statute  are  both  areas he  would  be  willing  to  add                                                              
Representative Kopp's  suggestion into the group,  even though the                                                              
constitution already provides those protections.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked that she be allowed  to dialogue with                                                              
Representative Eastman  in the spirit of this  being the Gruenberg                                                              
Room,  and stated  that Representative  Eastman  made good  points                                                              
but, she  explained,  "you can't  do everything  in one bill"  and                                                              
this  bill is  about  allowing elected  officials  to solemnize  a                                                              
marriage.    She  pointed  out   that  Representative  Eastman  is                                                              
welcome to  draft another  bill wherein  his suggestions  would be                                                              
solved  and  offered  the  expression   that  a  legislator  can't                                                              
"Christmas Tree"  everything onto  one bill or  it would be  a big                                                              
and long bill.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD commented  that  the cost  of drafting  a                                                              
bill   is   approximately   $1,000-$2,000   and  this   is   about                                                              
streamlining   the  process.     She  said   it  is  germane   for                                                              
Representative Eastman to discuss this in this bill.                                                                            
1:33:45- PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked the process when  the average                                                              
Alaskan  obtains  the marriage  commissioner  certificate  besides                                                              
the $25 fee.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  replied  the  person   fills  out  a  form  at  the                                                              
courthouse, pays  the fee, and receives a paper  certificate valid                                                              
for 24-hours,  for a  particular day  to perform  a ceremony.   He                                                              
said he was unsure whether the process could be done online.                                                                    
1:35:20 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  MEADE, General  Counsel,  Administrative  Staff, Office  of                                                              
the Administrative  Director,  Alaska Court  System, said  she was                                                              
available for questions.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  whether an  application  to                                                              
become  a marriage  commissioner  could be  done  online, and  the                                                              
logic  behind  having  a  marriage   commissioner,  and  having  a                                                              
limited class of people allowed to solemnize marriages.                                                                         
1:36:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE advised  that she was unfamiliar with the  history as to                                                              
why  individual   Alaskans  can  become  marriage   commissioners.                                                              
Although,  she said  she  has the  sense,  from personal  history,                                                              
that  individuals   cannot  simply   go  to   the  court   and  be                                                              
commissioned to  be an officiant  in someone else's marriage.   To                                                              
her knowledge  that  ability is  not in  every state.   As to  the                                                              
application  process, people  must  go to  the courthouse  because                                                              
the  court system  does  not have  the  ability  to accept  online                                                              
requests.    She  continued  that people  go  to  the  courthouse,                                                              
complete the  application, pay  the $25 filing  fee which  goes to                                                              
the  general  fund, and  the  person's  commission is  limited  in                                                              
1:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  the sponsor  to explain  the                                                              
original   rationale  behind   limiting   solemnizing  solely   to                                                              
religious and spiritual officials.                                                                                              
CHAIR CLAMAN  opined that  it was  the same  as the prior  answer,                                                              
this  country's tradition  hasn't  gotten to  the  point where  it                                                              
wants to  say that everyone can  solemnize a marriage.   Probably,                                                              
he  opined, in  the early  days of  this country  the only  people                                                              
solemnizing marriages  were religious officials, and  then someone                                                              
probably   said   they   didn't    belong   to   that   particular                                                              
organization,  and  in small  communities  that  may have  led  to                                                              
justices of  the peace.   There has been  some interest  in having                                                              
some  limits  on  the  group  of   people  that  can  solemnize  a                                                              
marriage.   Consistent  with Representative  LeDoux's comment,  he                                                              
remarked that  this effort was simply  to try to make  it a little                                                              
easier  for  people  to  ask  a   public  official  they  like  to                                                              
solemnize  the  marriage,  thereby  taking  one step  out  of  the                                                              
1:40:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  surmised that  Alaska  does  not let  just                                                              
anyone  solemnize  a  marriage,  although,  through  the  marriage                                                              
commissioners   isn't  the  state   really  letting   just  anyone                                                              
solemnize  a   marriage.    She   asked  whether  there   are  any                                                              
limitations on who can be a marriage commissioner.                                                                              
CHAIR CLAMAN  replied that he doesn't  believe so, if  anything it                                                              
is  probably there  to  keep a  record  of those  performing  that                                                              
function,  in the  same sense,  the  state only  allows courts  to                                                              
perform  divorces and  the rationale  is to know  who is  actually                                                              
doing it.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  noted that  while she understands  that one                                                              
needs to  keep a  record of  the marriage,  what is the  rationale                                                              
for the  requirement that individual's  must get  the government's                                                              
permission in order to get married.                                                                                             
1:42:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN said  the  best  answer he  can  offer  is that  the                                                              
process  of undoing  a marriage  is one  in which  the state  does                                                              
give that  authority to courts.   The notion that the  state would                                                              
go  to a  non-government  monitored  process of  ending  marriages                                                              
would  suggest  that the  government  should  at least  have  some                                                              
minor role  in being able to  certify that the marriage  meets all                                                              
of the requirements.   He recalled that Representative  LeDoux and                                                              
he were  once involved  in a case  in which  one of the  questions                                                              
was [the  date] in  which the individuals  were actually  married.                                                              
Since the  court is  involved in  ending that  union, at  least at                                                              
the  minimum  level,  the  government  needs  to  be  involved  in                                                              
certifying  when  the  day  occurred.    He  related  there  is  a                                                              
different question  about how  broad to open  it up for  people to                                                              
sign certificates  stating that the  couple is now married.   That                                                              
is not  the intent  of this bill,  it is  to just slightly  expand                                                              
the group, he explained.                                                                                                        
1:44:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  said there has always been  concern about who                                                              
can solemnize a  marriage in the law, and the state  hold marriage                                                              
in high regard because  it attaches a host of  benefits to married                                                              
couples.   He  explained  that the  form  a marriage  commissioner                                                              
fills  out is there  for the  courts to  track who  it is  vesting                                                              
authority  in, on  behalf of  the  State of  Alaska, to  solemnize                                                              
marriage because the state does see it as profoundly important.                                                                 
1:46:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  explained that  thousands of years  ago a                                                              
lot of  the laws around marriage  were established, and  many laws                                                              
based on  biblical principles.   She said  that the  Bible defines                                                              
marriage  as  between   one  man  and  one  woman   of  which  the                                                              
Constitution  of the  State  of Alaska  still  states, and  public                                                              
officials swear to  uphold that constitution.   She expressed that                                                              
she  refuses  to   redefine  marriage  based  on   some  misguided                                                              
reinterpretations  of American society and  she will not  yield to                                                              
the  opinion of  a  handful  of judges.    This bill  expands  the                                                              
conversation,  and  she  appreciates  the exemption,  but  if  she                                                              
receives  an exemption,  every public  official  should have  that                                                              
exemption.     She  stated  that   this  opens  up   an  important                                                              
1:47:50 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  FANSLER  pointed  out  that  members  have  taken  an                                                              
indulgence  to  have a  little  cross  talk,  and asked  that  the                                                              
members focus on questions specifically for the bill sponsor.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER opened public testimony on HB 20.                                                                        
1:48:38 PM                                                                                                                    
TRISTAN WALSH,  Alaskans for Equality,  voiced his support  for HB
20,  because it  give  many people  in Alaska  the  chance to  ask                                                              
someone  they know  [to solemnize  a marriage],  such as a  public                                                              
official in  rural Alaska.   He commented  that it is  another way                                                              
they  can celebrate  the  bond of  marriage  and  not worry  about                                                              
going  through  a lot  of  hoops  to have  someone  perform  their                                                              
VICE CHAIR FANSLER,  after ascertaining no one  wished to testify,                                                              
closed public testimony on HB 20.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER  moved the  committee  to amendments,  and                                                              
pointed out  that most of  the amendments  are based on  Version D                                                              
rather  than Version  J,  the committee's  working  document.   He                                                              
noted  that  Legislative  Legal  and Research  Services  has  been                                                              
given  authority  to conform  the  amendments to  the  appropriate                                                              
version of the bill should any amendments be adopted.                                                                           
1:50:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  moved  to  adopt Amendment  1,  Version  30-                                                              
LS0242\J.1 which read as follows:                                                                                               
     Page 2, lines 1 - 4:                                                                                                       
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
               "(4)  by an individual holding an elective                                                                   
     public office in the state.                                                                                            
       * Sec. 2. AS 25.05.261 is amended by adding a new                                                                      
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
          (c)  Nothing in this section creates or implies a                                                                     
      duty on a person authorized to solemnize a marriage                                                                       
     under (a)(1), (3), or (4) of this section to solemnize                                                                     
     a marriage."                                                                                                               
     Renumber the following bill section accordingly.                                                                           
CHAIR CLAMAN objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
1:51:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP explained  that  in the  same  spirit as  the                                                              
amendment adopted  in the House State Affairs  Standing Committee,                                                              
this  amendment  incorporates  that   amendment  and  extends  the                                                              
permissive language.   He referred to [AS 25.05.261(a)  Version D,                                                              
page 1, lines 5-9,] as follows:                                                                                                 
          (a) Marriages may be solemnized                                                                                       
               (1) by a minister, priest, or rabbi of any                                                                       
     church   or  congregation   in  the   state,  or  by   a                                                                   
     commissioned  officer of the  Salvation Army, or  by the                                                                   
     principal  officer or  elder of  recognized churches  or                                                                   
     congregations  that traditionally  do  not have  regular                                                                   
     ministers,  priests,  or  rabbis,  anywhere  within  the                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  referred  to [AS  25.05.261(a)(3),  page  1,                                                              
lines 12-14, which read as follows:                                                                                             
               (3) before or in any religious organization                                                                      
     or  congregation according  to the  establish ritual  or                                                                   
     form   commonly  practiced   in   the  organization   or                                                                   
     congregation; or                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  said  "and  then  elected  officials."    He                                                              
referred  to  "all   three  of  those"  and  explained   that  the                                                              
authorization in the  law to solemnize a marriage  would not imply                                                              
a duty  on  those persons  to solemnize  a marriage.   He  further                                                              
explained that it  includes elected officials and  it includes the                                                              
same "protection  of conscience" to  the spiritual leaders  of the                                                              
various faith communities and its congregations.                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN withdrew his objection.                                                                                            
1:53:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  objected for  purposes of discussion.   He                                                              
suggested it  would be effective to  take one amendment  at a time                                                              
and treat each on its merits.                                                                                                   
VICE CHAIR  FANSLER advised  that the  intention of the  committee                                                              
is to act on one amendment at a time.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  maintained   his  objection  and  invited                                                              
other members to "chime in first."                                                                                              
1:53:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  noted  that  judges  were  left  off  of                                                              
Amendment 1,  and offered a  friendly amendment to  include judges                                                              
because all public officials should be allowed an exemption.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  advised  that   he  was  not  open  to  that                                                              
friendly amendment  because after  meeting with several  judges at                                                              
each level  of the  judiciary, the  counsel he  received was  that                                                              
Alaska's judges  almost never perform  marriages and it  is really                                                              
not  an issue.   Although,  he offered,  if it  becomes a  problem                                                              
where they feel  their professional conscience was  being trampled                                                              
on, they  could let the legislature  know that they would  like an                                                              
exemption.  He  acknowledged that it is a friendly  amendment, but                                                              
his fear  was that the bill  ultimately would not pass  because of                                                              
the  fight  over   the  judiciary,  thereby,  not   extending  the                                                              
intended protection  to the faith  communities and  faith leaders.                                                              
At  this time,  he  related, his  main  concern  is that  Alaska's                                                              
churches and  religious leaders  cannot be compelled  to solemnize                                                              
marriage outside of their faith tradition.                                                                                      
1:56:18 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  MEADE, General  Counsel,  Administrative  Staff, Office  of                                                              
the Administrative  Director, Alaska  Court System, noted  that as                                                              
Representative   Kopp   mentioned,   adding  the   language   that                                                              
"judicial officers  could be excused for certain  marriages" could                                                              
be  problematic.     The  reason   being,  she  explained,   their                                                              
interpretation  of the judicial  cannon is  that judges  must take                                                              
anything that  comes before  them in the  course of  their duties.                                                              
Judges  would not,  by their ethical  guidelines,  be able  to not                                                              
perform  marriages for  certain people  unless the  judge opts  to                                                              
not  perform  any  marriages.   Therefore,  by  including  in  the                                                              
statute  that a  judicial  officer would  not  be required,  would                                                              
present a  conflict of  what has  been determined  to be  the case                                                              
for judicial officers, she offered.                                                                                             
1:57:25 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  FANSLER noted that  Representative Reinbold  offered a                                                              
friendly amendment and  asked whether she would like  to make it a                                                              
formal [Conceptual] Amendment 1 to Amendment 1.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD moved to  adopt [Conceptual]  Amendment 1                                                              
to Amendment  1, [page 1,  line 6 of  Amendment 1] to  include the                                                              
Alaska  Court System  with the  religious  exemption, which  would                                                              
include  (a)(1)  through  (4),   line  6  of  Amendment  1.    She                                                              
explained  that the  Alaska Court  System is  an entire branch  of                                                              
government  and it  is sticky  matter  when a  complete branch  of                                                              
government is excluded.   She voiced that the  legislature and the                                                              
executive branch  receive that exemption and the  judiciary branch                                                              
needs  the  right  to  refuse  and  the  right  of  protection  of                                                              
conscience as  well.  She  stated there  has been mischief  at the                                                              
court  in redefining  marriage  and  not  even going  through  the                                                              
people,  she remarked,  and the  courts  need to  be protected  as                                                              
CHAIR CLAMAN  objected to  [Conceptual] Amendment  1 to  Amendment                                                              
1:59:06 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE   CHAIR   FANSLER   stated    that   his   understanding   of                                                              
Representative  Reinbold's  amendment  was that  [AS  25.05.61(c),                                                              
page 1,  lines 5-6  of Amendment 1],  [Conceptual] Amendment  1 to                                                              
Amendment 1 would read as follows:                                                                                              
               (c) Nothing in this section creates or                                                                           
     implies  a duty on  a person  authorized to solemnize  a                                                                   
     marriage  under  (a)(1),  (2),   (3),  or  (4)  of  this                                                                   
     section to solemnize a marriage.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD said "That is correct."                                                                                 
1:59:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN  stated   that  in   dealing  with   this                                                              
amendment  the  committee is  not  taking  each amendment  on  its                                                              
merits  as previously  agreed, and  explained that  he prepared  a                                                              
separate   amendment  that   does   exactly  what   Representative                                                              
Reinbold is  attempting to do.   In recognizing there  are various                                                              
degrees  by  which  this  issue  can  be  addressed  in  different                                                              
amendments,  he requested  that  Representative Reinbold  withdraw                                                              
[Conceptual]  Amendment  1  to   Amendment  1  solely  because  he                                                              
prepared a specific amendment regarding this exact issue.                                                                       
2:00:49 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 2:00 p.m. to 2:02 p.m.                                                                       
2:02:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN  identified   that   he  was   previously                                                              
referring  to Amendment  3, and  that it  is an  outgrowth of  his                                                              
conversation with  Representative Kopp in dealing  with whether or                                                              
not  to  specifically  exclude   judicial  officers  and  marriage                                                              
commissioners from  this protection.  Amendment 3  would treat the                                                              
judiciary the same as everyone else in subsection (c), he said.                                                                 
VICE CHAIR FANSLER  noted there was a request  that Representative                                                              
Reinbold  withdraw [Conceptual]  Amendment  1 to  Amendment 1  and                                                              
asked whether she  wishes to continue with  [Conceptual] Amendment                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD stated  that this  is important  and that                                                              
it is much easier  and clearer to do it right here  because all it                                                              
does  is  add  paragraph  (2).     She  then  agreed  to  withdraw                                                              
[Conceptual]  Amendment 1 to  Amendment 1,  but stressed  that she                                                              
wants  to  ensure  that  paragraph   (2)'s  specific  language  is                                                              
included in Amendment 3.                                                                                                        
2:04:10 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  FANSLER   said  that  [Conceptual]   Amendment  1  to                                                              
Amendment 1 has  been withdrawn.  He asked for  further discussion                                                              
on  Amendment 1,  which  refers to  solely  to paragraphs  (a)(1),                                                              
(3), and (4).                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  offered that Amendment 1  basically changes                                                              
the  language in  Version J,  [page 2,  lines 1-4]  which read  as                                                              
               (4) by an individual holding an elective                                                                     
     public  office in the  state; an  individual holding  an                                                               
     elective  public  office  in  the state  may  refuse  to                                                               
     solemnize  a  marriage  for any  reason,  including  for                                                               
     reasons of religious scruple or conscience.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  pointed out that Amendment  1 scrubbed that                                                              
language  out, but  the  language  "religious scruple"  should  be                                                              
included to avoid  any suggestion that religious  scruple wouldn't                                                              
be  an  appropriate  reason  for   deciding  not  to  solemnize  a                                                              
2:06:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  offered that Amendment 1 appears  to be clear                                                              
on its  face that when talking  about religious leaders  and their                                                              
congregations,  that would  be a  reason that  they would  refuse.                                                              
He  said  "it's  like  double speak."    He  explained  that  this                                                              
amendment  simply  says  they are  authorized  to  solemnize,  but                                                              
those institutions  have no duty to solemnize.   Therefore, if you                                                              
want to  extend for  reasons of  religious scruple or  conscience,                                                              
the amendment  is clear on its face  that that is the  reason they                                                              
are doing  it.   As far as  elected officials,  when it  says they                                                              
have  no duty, they  cannot  do it for  any reason  because  it is                                                              
"any and all  reasons."  Also, he commented,  those specific words                                                              
will invite a lot  of vigorous and robust discussion  as this bill                                                              
works  its   way  through  the   process,  and  those   words  are                                                              
fundamentally  implied  in  Amendment  1.   He  opined  that  that                                                              
language will actually harm the bill.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  continued that he believes that  Nancy Meade,                                                              
Alaska Court  System, said  that a  judge can  just decide  not to                                                              
perform marriages  and it is not considered an  ethical violation.                                                              
He stated  that he was unsure  whether he was restating  Ms. Meade                                                              
VICE CHAIR  FANSLER  said his office  would contact  Ms. Meade  to                                                              
call in.                                                                                                                        
2:08:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   advised  that  she  does   not  want  her                                                              
suggestion  to be an  unfriendly [conceptual]  amendment,  but her                                                              
thoughts are  that "what this  implies is,  I think, that  you can                                                              
refuse   to  authorize   a  marriage   for   any  legal   reason."                                                              
Certainly, she  pointed out, this  wouldn't give anyone  the right                                                              
to refuse  to [solemnize]  a marriage  for a  reason that  was not                                                              
legal,  and  she said  she  wants  to  be sure  that  refusing  to                                                              
solemnize a  marriage based upon  religious scruple  is considered                                                              
a legal reason for refusing to solemnize a marriage.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP opined  that when  it is  clearly put  in the                                                              
law that there is  no duty, which means "you don't  have any duty,                                                              
nobody can  tell you you  [sic] have to  do this for  any reason."                                                              
He  clarified that  that's  what is  says on  its  face and  maybe                                                              
another counsel should weigh in.                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR  FANSLER advised  that  Nancy  Meade was  online,  and                                                              
asked Representative Kopp to restate his question.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP asked  whether  he heard  correctly that  Ms.                                                              
Meade had  advised that if  a judge has a  policy or just  makes a                                                              
decision  not  to  solemnize  marriages,   there  are  no  ethical                                                              
repercussions as  it is strictly  up to the judge,  personally, to                                                              
decide whether to solemnize marriages or not.                                                                                   
2:11:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE explained  that judges and magistrates are  bound by the                                                              
cannons of  judicial conduct and they  do have an ethical  duty to                                                              
resolve  any  matter  brought  before  them as  a  judge,  and  to                                                              
perform  other  duties  brought  before  them  as  a  judge.    In                                                              
Anchorage,  law clerks are  delegated a  duty through  a presiding                                                              
judge order  to perform marriages.   Law  clerks are not  bound by                                                              
the  cannons  of  judicial  conduct   and  they  could  refuse  to                                                              
solemnize  any marriages  during  their clerkship.   Although,  if                                                              
they  say  they are  going  to  perform  marriages, they  need  to                                                              
perform  all marriages  without  making judgment  calls about  the                                                              
couple coming before them for any reason.                                                                                       
2:13:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP referred Linda  Bruce, Legislative  Legal and                                                              
Research  Services, to a  matter regarding  wordsmithing  [page 2,                                                              
lines 3-4], in Version J, and he paraphrased as follows:                                                                        
     A public --  an elective public office in  the state may                                                                   
     refuse  to solemnize  a  marriage  for any  reason,  and                                                                   
     then we --  we add the reason, including  for reasons of                                                                   
     religious scruple or conscience.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  said that the  question is whether  Amendment                                                              
1 [page  1, lines  5-6] fully  incorporate that  legally into  the                                                              
law, and he paraphrased as follows:                                                                                             
     Nothing in this  section creates or implies a  duty on a                                                                   
     person   authorized  to  solemnize   a  marriage   under                                                                   
     (a)(1), which  is religious leaders, (3)  congregations,                                                                   
     and   (4)  elected   officials,  of   this  section   to                                                                   
     solemnize a marriage.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP further  asked  that if  it  says that  those                                                              
authorized persons  do not have a duty to solemnize,  whether that                                                              
is the equivalent to what is in Version J, page 2, lines 2-4.                                                                   
2:14:49 PM                                                                                                                    
LINDA BRUCE,  Attorney, Legislative  Legal and Research  Services,                                                              
Legislative  Affairs Agency, Alaska  State Legislature,  responded                                                              
that in her  opinion, the language  of "no duty" would  imply that                                                              
an  individual  under  one  of those  subsections  may  refuse  to                                                              
solemnize a  marriage for any  reason because  they do not  have a                                                              
duty to solemnize that marriage.                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR FANSLER  noted  that Representative  Eastman  believes                                                              
Amendment 2 speaks to this issue.                                                                                               
2:15:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  offered that,  clearly,  the  laws of  the                                                              
State  of Alaska  do  not allow  discrimination  based upon  race.                                                              
Under Amendment  1, if someone  refused to solemnize  the marriage                                                              
of an interracial  couple, would that person be open  for civil or                                                              
criminal liability, she asked.                                                                                                  
MS.  BRUCE  answered that  under  the  state's  antidiscrimination                                                              
provision,  it is likely  that a  person refusing  to solemnize  a                                                              
marriage for  an interracial couple  due to a matter  of religious                                                              
conscience  may  be  violating  the  antidiscrimination  provision                                                              
under state statute.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX said  that  under Amendment  1,  as it  now                                                              
stands,  if someone  said  they  would not  solemnize  a same  sex                                                              
marriage, would  that open them  up to liability.   She continued,                                                              
that in the event  Ms. Bruce's answer was in the  affirmative, she                                                              
asked  whether the  language used  in Version  J would close  that                                                              
MS. BRUCE responded  that other states have similar  provisions in                                                              
their  state codes  with several  cases pending  on this  specific                                                              
issue, and  it is  unclear how  the courts  will decide  the issue                                                              
given the  competing interest.   However, it  is likely  a court's                                                              
decision  will depend  upon the  facts of the  case, for  example,                                                              
she  explained,  under Alaska  State  Statute "we  currently  only                                                              
permit  these   individuals  to  solemnize  marriages,   we  don't                                                              
require them to."                                                                                                               
2:18:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX offered  that in  the event  a person  felt                                                              
uncomfortable solemnizing  a same  sex marriage, would  the person                                                              
feel  better   with  a   statute  as  it   reads  in   Version  J,                                                              
specifically including  "no duty for reasons of  religious scruple                                                              
or   conscience,"   or   whether  they   should   feel   perfectly                                                              
comfortable with Amendment 1.                                                                                                   
2:18:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BRUCE  replied that she was  unsure which would make  a person                                                              
more  comfortable because  she  does think  that  Amendment 1,  by                                                              
requiring  no  duty,  still  encompasses  those  persons  who  may                                                              
object for religious reasons.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  questioned  why  wouldn't  the  horrendous                                                              
example  of  refusing  to solemnize  an  interracial  marriage  be                                                              
2:20:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BRUCE  answered   that  in  looking  at  the   state's  anti-                                                              
discrimination  statute, it provides  that discrimination  may not                                                              
occur  against an  inhabitant of  the  state because  of, and  one                                                              
reason  is  race.    She advised  that  she  did  not  see  sexual                                                              
orientation  listed.   She then  referred to  AS 18.80.210,  Civil                                                              
Rights, which read as follows:                                                                                                  
     AS 18.80.210. Civil Rights.                                                                                                
     The  opportunity   to  obtain  employment,   credit  and                                                                   
     financing,      public      accommodations,      housing                                                                   
     accommodations,     and    other    property     without                                                                   
     discrimination  because  of   sex,  physical  or  mental                                                                   
     disability, marital  status, changes in  marital status,                                                                   
     pregnancy,   parenthood,  race,   religion,  color,   or                                                                   
     national origin is a civil right.                                                                                          
MS. BRUCE  said she  does not  know whether  the solemnization  of                                                              
marriages would  actually even  fall under the  antidiscrimination                                                              
provision.   She commented that if  it was challenged,  it may not                                                              
be on anti-discrimination  grounds through state  law, and instead                                                              
challenged  as these laws  are being  challenged in other  states,                                                              
under  the  Due  Process  and  Equal  Protection  Clauses  of  the                                                              
Fourteenth Amendment,  and the Establishment  Clause of  the First                                                              
2:21:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  offered that  what he sees  with Amendment                                                              
1 is  an effort  in state  statute to  create the opportunity  for                                                              
someone  who legally  has the  option of  solemnizing a  marriage,                                                              
not to do so  under a number of circumstances.   Fundamentally, he                                                              
opined, under  cases in  other states  and recent court  decisions                                                              
that it  will be  difficult.  He  referred to  a lawsuit  that was                                                              
directly  referenced  in a  letter  to  this committee  wherein  a                                                              
judge  was sued  for  discrimination  simply for  a  comment on  a                                                              
hypothetical  situation  involving   someone  who  never  actually                                                              
asked the  judge to solemnize  her marriage.   He offered  that he                                                              
drafted  an  amendment  because  Amendment  1  doesn't  deal  with                                                              
judges,  and   in  creating  a   separate  option   where  elected                                                              
officials  do not have  to go  the route  of participating  in the                                                              
marriage  solemnizing  process,  judges would  be  protected  from                                                              
charges  of  discrimination  if  they simply  refused  to  do  all                                                              
marriages.   Although, if a  legislator decided to  solemnize even                                                              
one marriage they  now come open to the charge  of discrimination.                                                              
Amendment   1  doesn't   distinguish   between   the  ability   to                                                              
participate in marriage  at all versus the ability  to participate                                                              
in  each individual  particular marriage  decision, he  said.   He                                                              
said  this amendment  could be  construed  that a  person has  the                                                              
right not  to participate, but they  chose to participate  and now                                                              
that  person   has  to   live  with   whatever  implications   and                                                              
consequences there  are further down the line.   The United States                                                              
Supreme  Court   decided  that  discrimination  doesn't   have  to                                                              
necessarily  be  proved  to  be  intentional,  it  can  simply  be                                                              
(indisc.).   Fundamentally,  he opined,  the tension  is the  idea                                                              
that the legislature  is creating this special  privilege or right                                                              
for elected  officials to  participate in marriage,  and if  he is                                                              
able to  "take part  in this  kinda cool  thing" and someone  else                                                              
can't participate  in this cool  thing then there's a  question of                                                              
discrimination.   He  related that  there  needs to  be a  serious                                                              
discussion about  just getting  rid of the  idea that "we  want to                                                              
create  this special  cool  thing for  people  to participate  in"                                                              
because it has implications.                                                                                                    
2:29:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   REINBOLD  said  that   she  cannot   support  the                                                              
amendment because  she supports  protection for  all and  not just                                                              
two  branches  of government.    Representative  Reinbold  offered                                                              
that the  language  added in Version  J is  valuable language  and                                                              
she then paraphrased the definition of scruple as follows:                                                                      
     It is a feeling or doubt or hesitation with regard to                                                                      
     the morality or proprietary of the action.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  commented that  it is important  for even                                                              
non-religious people  to have the  ability, based on  their belief                                                              
system,  to  be  able  to refuse.    She  remarked  that  she  was                                                              
confused that in  Sec. [2], it read "implies or a  duty," and that                                                              
possibly someone  may interpret it as a responsibility,  that word                                                              
can be  played with.  She  will be a  no vote on Amendment  1, and                                                              
she related that  she appreciates Version J's language  on page 2,                                                              
line 1-[4].                                                                                                                     
2:30:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP reminded  the  committee that  Ms. Bruce  had                                                              
advised that  the amendment covers  the language that  it replaces                                                              
in  its entirety.   He  pointed out  that Ms.  Bruce also  advised                                                              
that  "discrimination  claims  would  not be  brought  under  this                                                              
section  of the  law  at all."   He  remarked  that the  committee                                                              
would never write  into the law acts of discrimination  and "if we                                                              
have religious scruples,  that would be very offensive  to someone                                                              
who  maybe just  hates people  and  it has  nothing to  do with  a                                                              
religious  conviction, they  just don't like  people for  whatever                                                              
reason, but they  are atheists and they have -- have  no -- no and                                                              
we  would  --  they  would  also  want  to  have  their  --  their                                                              
reasons."  He  described Amendment 1 as elegantly  written in that                                                              
it covers  all of  the committee's  concerns, help's expedite  the                                                              
bill's passage,  and it  incorporates the  bill sponsor's  intent.                                                              
He stated that "marriage  is not a "cool thing,"  it's a wonderful                                                              
blessing  for whoever  is  seeking it,  and  this amendment  helps                                                              
make that happen.                                                                                                               
2:32:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX moved  to adopt Conceptual  Amendment  2 to                                                              
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
2:32:47 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 2:21 p.m. to 2:43 p.m.                                                                       
2:43:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   LEDOUX  withdrew   Conceptual   Amendment  2   to                                                              
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
2:43:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  said  he appreciates  the  language  that                                                              
Representative  LeDoux  proposed  in  Conceptual  Amendment  2  to                                                              
Amendment 1,  that it  be adopted as  a committee substitute,  and                                                              
related that he  is greatly considering Conceptual  Amendment 2 to                                                              
Amendment  1 as  Amendment Zero.    He opined  that the  committee                                                              
needs  to go  through the  amendments and  whichever amendment  is                                                              
adopted,  have  a  reconciliation  at  the  end.    Otherwise,  he                                                              
commented, doing it  each step along the way puts  the cart before                                                              
the horse.                                                                                                                      
2:44:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  called  a point  of  order.    He stated  that  the                                                              
committee  is dealing  with these  amendments one  amendment at  a                                                              
time and  each time Representative  Eastman refers to  these other                                                              
amendments he  is doing exactly what  he says he does  not want to                                                              
do.  He then called for the question on Amendment 1.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER  recapped that  the  committee is  working                                                              
off  of Version  J, Amendment  1,  and there  was a  call for  the                                                              
question adopting Amendment 1.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  interjected that  he  did  not think  his                                                              
question was really answered there.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  interjected  that  she  did not  get  to                                                              
comment  after  Representative LeDoux  withdrew  her  [conceptual]                                                              
2:45:30 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR FANSLER said he did not hear a question ...                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  interjected that his question  was whether                                                              
the committee  was working  on amendments one  at a  time, because                                                              
if the  committee is now replacing  the committee  substitute with                                                              
Amendment  1, that's  an entirely  different process  and he  does                                                              
not want to do that.                                                                                                            
VICE CHAIR  FANSLER  advised that  Version J  would be amended  if                                                              
Amendment 1 passes.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN argued  that if the  committee does  that,                                                              
the committee  does  need to have  the whole  conversation  all at                                                              
once and figure  out the language.   He pointed out that  it's one                                                              
thing to  have the  discussions in stair-steps  and come  back and                                                              
figure it  out at the end,  but if the committee  is incorporating                                                              
everything  as amendments  pass,  now the  committee is  replacing                                                              
the language that was proposed before the committee substitute.                                                                 
2:46:30 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  FANSLER  said that  he  absolutely  understands  what                                                              
Representative  Eastman is getting  at, and  that it is  fortunate                                                              
this is  a short  two-page bill  and each member  will be  able to                                                              
maintain what  the differences  are between  them and  continue to                                                              
build off of that.                                                                                                              
2:47:14 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR FANSLER  advised there was an undebatable  call for the                                                              
question, and requested a roll call.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN objected  because Representative  Reinbold                                                              
was still in the queue.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD objected.                                                                                               
VICE CHAIR  FANSLER requested  a roll  call vote  on the  call for                                                              
the question on the adoption of Amendment 1.                                                                                    
2:47:56 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 2:47 p.m. to 2:48 p.m.                                                                       
2:48:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  withdrew his  call for the  question because  he was                                                              
confident that  with all of the  discussion that had  taken place,                                                              
Representative Reinbold could complete her comments quickly.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  said the public needs to  understand that                                                              
the committee  is voting  on Amendment  1.   She referred  to page                                                              
[1], lines 1-3, of the amendment and paraphrased as follows:                                                                    
     Delete  all  material,  and  the material  says:  by  an                                                                   
     individual  holding  an elective  public  office in  the                                                                   
     state  --  an  individual  holding  an  elective  public                                                                   
     office in the  state may refuse to solemnize  a marriage                                                                   
     for  any reason  including  reasons based  on  religious                                                                   
     scruple or conscience.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD described  it  as good  language and  she                                                              
that she  does not  support deleting that  language.   Amendment 1                                                              
also excludes  an entire  branch  of government,  and it does  not                                                              
protect all  three branches  of government.   Therefore,  she said                                                              
she cannot support Amendment 1.                                                                                                 
2:49:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN moved  to lay  Amendment 1  on the  table,                                                              
and explained  that the  committee could come  back to  it because                                                              
he doesn't  want Version J and  Amendment 1 to replace  each other                                                              
until after the full discussion.                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN objected.                                                                                                          
2:50:14 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at ease.                                                                                             
2:50:46 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR FANSLER  asked for a roll call vote to  lay Amendment 1                                                              
on the table.                                                                                                                   
A  roll  call  vote  was  taken.     Representatives  Eastman  and                                                              
Reinbold  voted in  favor  of laying  Amendment  1  on the  table.                                                              
Representatives   Kopp,  Kreiss-Tomkins,   LeDoux,  Fansler,   and                                                              
Claman voted  against it.   Therefore, the  motion failed  to pass                                                              
by a vote of 5-2.                                                                                                               
VICE CHAIR FANSLER  requested a roll call vote on  the adoption of                                                              
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
2:52:08 PM                                                                                                                    
A  roll  call  vote was  taken.    Representatives  Claman,  Kopp,                                                              
Fansler,  LeDoux, and Kreiss-Tomkins  voted  in favor of  adopting                                                              
Amendment 1.   Representatives Eastman and Reinbold  voted against                                                              
it.  Therefore, Amendment 1 was adopted by a vote of 5-2.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  commented that  she  did not  appreciate                                                              
the  fact that  several committee  members left  this room  during                                                              
committee hours and made decisions behind closed doors.                                                                         
2:53:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN moved  to adopt Amendment  2, Version  30-                                                              
LS0242\D.12, which read as follows:                                                                                             
     Page 1, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "elected public officials"                                                                                   
          Insert "any person"                                                                                                 
     Page 1, line 4, through page 2, line 11:                                                                                   
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "* Section 1. AS 25.05.261(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
          (a)  Marriages may be solemnized by any person in                                                                 
     the state                                                                                                              
               [(1)  BY A MINISTER, PRIEST, OR RABBI OF ANY                                                                     
          CHURCH OR CONGREGATION IN THE STATE, OR BY A                                                                          
     COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THE SALVATION ARMY, OR BY THE                                                                      
     PRINCIPAL  OFFICER OR  ELDER OF  RECOGNIZED CHURCHES  OR                                                                   
     CONGREGATIONS  THAT TRADITIONALLY  DO  NOT HAVE  REGULAR                                                                   
     MINISTERS,  PRIESTS,  OR  RABBIS,  ANYWHERE  WITHIN  THE                                                                   
               (2)  BY A MARRIAGE COMMISSIONER OR JUDICIAL                                                                      
     OFFICER OF  THE STATE  ANYWHERE WITHIN THE  JURISDICTION                                                                   
     OF THE COMMISSIONER OR OFFICER; OR                                                                                         
               (3)  BEFORE OR IN ANY RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION                                                                     
     OR CONGREGATION  ACCORDING TO THE ESTABLISHED  RITUAL OR                                                                   
     FORM   COMMONLY  PRACTICED   IN   THE  ORGANIZATION   OR                                                                   
        * Sec.  2. AS 22.15.100(3); AS 25.05.081,  25.05.281,                                                                 
     and 25.05.371 are repealed."                                                                                               
CHAIR CLAMAN objected.                                                                                                          
2:53:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  advised that Amendment 2  makes clear that                                                              
"no longer  would you or  I" need to  go to the courthouse,  waste                                                              
time and  money, and receive  a piece of  paper that is  valid for                                                              
24-hours, to do  what is already allowed in statute  and perform a                                                              
marriage.   He stated  that he is  sympathetic to the  inspiration                                                              
behind   HB   20  regarding   removing   that   requirement   from                                                              
legislators   when  performing   a  marriage  ceremony,   thereby,                                                              
removing the  inconvenience, heartache,  waste of time  and money,                                                              
to legislators.   He said that when  he married, they  had to take                                                              
that trip, pay the  fees, and nothing was gained  by it other than                                                              
the government collecting  money and giving them a  piece of paper                                                              
they  could  have done  without.    The  added benefit  is  simply                                                              
recognizing  that   anyone  in   Alaska  can  already   perform  a                                                              
marriage, but  for this bureaucratic  impediment.  This  will take                                                              
the committee  in great strides  toward resolving  other conflicts                                                              
that  are coming  up  because once  there  is  "that special  cool                                                              
exemption,"  there are  special  requirements that  go along  with                                                              
that.   He then  opined that there  are arguments  to be  made for                                                              
discrimination and so  forth.  What is cool here,  is not marriage                                                              
itself, but  who "gets to do it,"  he clarified.  It  is important                                                              
for the  committee to recognize  that Alaska no longer  requires a                                                              
person  solemnizing a  marriage  to have  a  theology degree,  and                                                              
there is  nothing against marriage to  say that that fee  and that                                                              
bureaucracy is  not needed.  A  marriage license is  required with                                                              
a place  to sign  and there  is a  process to  decide whether  the                                                              
marriage  license is valid.   The  courts do  not add anything  to                                                              
that marriage license  process by requiring a legislator  to go to                                                              
the courthouse, pay  a fee, and receive a piece of  paper which is                                                              
only valid for a day, he said.                                                                                                  
2:57:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP pointed  out that  with the  court issuing  a                                                              
marriage commissioner  license, it can  verify the person  is over                                                              
the age  of 18 years,  and it also  has a  full record of  who the                                                              
state  has invested  authority in  to consecrate  a marriage.   He                                                              
stressed that it  cannot be overstated how important  a commitment                                                              
that is, which is  why the law doesn't throw open  the door to any                                                              
persons, and  it is descriptive  in who may solemnize  a marriage.                                                              
While he understands  Representative Eastman's desire  to possibly                                                              
be more  inclusive, he  opined that  the careful thought  analysis                                                              
would  more come  along  the  lines of  classes  of  persons.   He                                                              
stated  that allowing  just any  person  diminishes how  important                                                              
the marriage  commitment is, and the  fact that a person  must pay                                                              
a small fee to  get a marriage commissioner license  indicates the                                                              
pause  the state wants  everyone  to have before  entering  into a                                                              
commitment, or  being the  one to solemnize  that commitment.   He                                                              
remarked  that the  faith community  has the  same view, it  wants                                                              
people  to have  pause  because  the gravity  of  the decision  is                                                              
2:59:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN maintained  his objection to Amendment  2, because it                                                              
is inconsistent with  the limited purpose of the  bill itself, and                                                              
he   completely   agrees   with   the   reasons   articulated   by                                                              
Representative Kopp.                                                                                                            
2:59:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  said  that upon  contemplation  he                                                              
agrees   there   is  a   certain   level  of   deliberateness   or                                                              
intentionality that  should be associated  with the act  in solemn                                                              
ritual.   He  added that  in a  certain sense,  possibly for  some                                                              
people the  speed bump makes  sense in  that, almost for  the sake                                                              
of the ritual,  it adds to  the deliberateness of the  ceremony by                                                              
actually   getting  a   certificate   and   becoming  a   marriage                                                              
commissioner.  He said he would be a no vote.                                                                                   
3:01:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  related that each of these  concerns could                                                              
easily be  resolved through Amendment  2.  He remarked  that there                                                              
is nothing about  paying a fee on top of the required  fee for the                                                              
marriage  license   that  creates   a  solemnity  experience   for                                                              
marriage because  the paying of  the fee is actually  invisible to                                                              
the folks  getting married.   The marriage  license is  a contract                                                              
and  people  can  attach  any  number  of  solemn  expressions  of                                                              
sincerity  in  keeping  with  it in  whatever  manner  the  couple                                                              
wishes to  solemnize their marriage.   This discussion  is outside                                                              
of  that experience  and,  he argued  that  marriage  is not  made                                                              
special because  there are multiple bureaucratic  fees attached to                                                              
3:03:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  said Amendment 2 gives her  pause because                                                              
she  does not  know  what  Representative  Eastman meant  by  "any                                                              
person."   Although, she said  she does understand  Representative                                                              
Eastman sentiments as  to why should there be a  ruling class that                                                              
is allowed to perform marriages and excludes other people.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  advised there is no  statutory requirement                                                              
that the person  be 18 years old, and this doesn't  change the way                                                              
that that would  necessarily attach.   It is saying that  it is no                                                              
longer  on the  special  person, whether  a  legislator or  anyone                                                              
else,  this  is  simply  on  those  people  signing  the  marriage                                                              
contract.  He explained  that they are the special  people in this                                                              
situation, not  the fact  that someone is  an elected  official or                                                              
anyone else.                                                                                                                    
3:04:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP noted  that the Alaska  Court System  website                                                              
reads that  the marriage  commissioner shall  be 18 years  of age,                                                              
or older,  and he  was unaware  whether that  was a state  policy.                                                              
He  opined that  the intent  of  the state  is to  have adults  as                                                              
marriage commissioners.                                                                                                         
3:05:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN wrapped  up by saying  that within  any of                                                              
the other  amendments,  the committee  will not  be able to  avoid                                                              
the  sticking  point  of  discrimination  on the  one  side,  it's                                                              
having  the  opportunity   to  marry  versus  having   a  duty  or                                                              
responsibility.  He  said he cannot see any way to  close the door                                                              
to attaching  the  potential for  discrimination lawsuits  against                                                              
any  legislators without  taking  a step  in this  direction.   As                                                              
long  as the  legislators  create  themselves as  another  special                                                              
class  able to  solemnize marriages,  there will  be issues  where                                                              
people are  concerned that someone  in the future will  be accused                                                              
of  being somehow  prejudicial  against who  they  marry or  don't                                                              
In  the  past,   when  it  was  simply  marriage,   there  was  no                                                              
expectation  that a  person could  tell a  pastor, rabbi,  elected                                                              
official,  judge,  or another  person,  they  had to  perform  the                                                              
marriage  ceremony.    In the  event  they  had  a reason  not  to                                                              
perform  the  marriage  ceremony,   they  just  didn't  marry  the                                                              
couple.   He doesn't  want to create  a situation wherein  someone                                                              
has  an expectation  that someone  will  marry them  even if  that                                                              
person doesn't  believe it  is the right  thing to do  because the                                                              
couple  is too  young or  not thinking  straight,  and thereby  be                                                              
subject to a lawsuit.   He then related a situation  as a military                                                              
officer.   By  opening this  up to  everyone, it  ensures that  no                                                              
matter who  wants to get married,  they have someone to  go to and                                                              
perform the marriage ceremony, he said.                                                                                         
3:10:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD moved to lay Amendment 2 on the table.                                                                  
CHAIR CLAMAN objected.                                                                                                          
VICE CHAIR FANSLER  asked for a roll call vote to  lay Amendment 2                                                              
on the table.                                                                                                                   
3:10:37 PM                                                                                                                    
A  roll  call  vote  was  taken.     Representatives  Eastman  and                                                              
Reinbold  voted in  favor  of laying  Amendment  2  on the  table.                                                              
Representatives   Claman,   Kopp,  Kreiss-Tomkins,   Ledoux,   and                                                              
Fansler voted  against it.  Therefore,  the motion failed  to pass                                                              
by a vote of 5-2.                                                                                                               
VICE CHAIR  FANSER requested a roll  call vote on the  adoption of                                                              
Amendment 2.                                                                                                                    
3:11:25 PM                                                                                                                    
A  roll call  vote was  taken.   Representative  Eastman voted  in                                                              
favor  of Amendment  2.   Representatives Claman,  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                              
LeDoux,   Fansler,   Reinbold,   and  Kopp   voted   against   it.                                                              
Therefore, Amendment 2 failed to pass by a vote of 6-1.                                                                         
3:12:24 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 3:12 p.m. to 3:13 p.m.                                                                       
3:13:13 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR FANSLER advised that the meeting was adjourned.                                                                      
[HB 20 was held over.]