Parnell, Walker Tussle Over Appeal Of Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Following a federal court decision overturning Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage, the major candidates for governor are sparring over how the state should respond.

Gov. Sean Parnell’s spokesperson sent out a press release shortly after the ruling, announcing that his administration would appeal the U.S. District Court decision. In it, Parnell stated he had a “duty to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution.”

Less than an hour later, Parnell’s campaign put out a blast asking if political rival Bill Walker “will defend Alaska’s Constitution.” Campaign spokesperson Luke Miller says Parnell’s immediate decision to appeal separates him from Walker on the issue.

“[Walker] is not willing to defend the Constitution in this regard, and I think really it’s a decision before Alaskans,” says Miller.

Walker, who has previously sought office as a Republican but is running as an unaffiliated candidate responded that he would need time to review the court’s opinion before making a decision to appeal. He says that while he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, he thinks it’s “unwise” to pursue “expensive litigation that has little chance of victory.” And he shot back at the governor for what sees as an unfair attack, given that Parnell has in the past supported a constitutional amendment to allow public funding of private schools.

“I do take exception [to] Gov. Parnell’s assertion that I wouldn’t be a defender of the Constitution when he’s not only not a defender but he’s actually attempted to change the Constitution,” says Walker.

Walker’s running mate, Democrat Byron Mallott, is supportive of same-sex marriage. Walker says he has not yet had a detailed conversation with Mallott on the matter.