Gay Couples to Be Included Under Definition of 'Immediate Family,' According to New Proposals in Alaska

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(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/USGS)Alaska is shown highlighted in this file map.

The Alaska State Personnel Board is considering expanding the definition of "immediate family" to include same-sex partners for state employee leave time.

If passed, the rule change would allow gay and lesbian state employees to take leave and be with their partner, if he or she were faced with a serious health condition.

This recent proposition came after the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska asked the commissioners of Corrections and Administration for leave on behalf of a woman whose partner was receiving cancer treatment in Washington State.

The state personnel board then opened a review of a 2005 Alaska Supreme Court decision that had ruled it was unconstitutional to offer heterosexual married couples benefits and not offer those same benefits to LGBT couples.

The state personnel board will consider the expansion next month, which will likely closely follow claims set out by insurance companies for domestic partners.

Only couples that can certify that have lived together and been in a relationship for the past year and that they intend to continue their relationship indefinitely are to be considered.

Alaska passed an amendment in 1998 banning same-sex marriage.