Alaska lawmakers apologize for chuckling over question on same-sex couples


Leaders of the Alaska House apologized this week for the laughter that erupted from some caucus members when asked about same-sex partnerships.

During a news conference last week to outline the caucus’ guiding principles, members were asked if they supported domestic partnerships or civil unions for same-sex couples. That drew scattered laughter.

Some websites and blogs cast the laughter as majority members laughing off or laughing at the idea of civil unions.

In a statement on Feb. 18, House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage, and House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, claimed that wasn’t the case.

Chenault said it is clear “from the totality of the response and circumstances the laughter was in reaction to which legislator had to field the difficult question, and did not go to the merits of the issue. Regardless, laughter was not appropriate and for that we sincerely apologize.”

Pruitt said it was a serious question and issue, just not something the caucus had taken a position on.

The GOP-led caucus identified its guiding principles as affordable energy, building a strong economy, fiscal responsibility, education reform and workforce development and healthy communities.

Pruitt said that the issue of same-sex partnerships did not come up during discussion of the principles. He said there was not a discussion on “what happens inside your home.”

On the Web…

A link to the audio on the press conference: