Dunleavy calls out media for reports on gay marriage PFD - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, December 4, 2021
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Dunleavy calls out media for reports on gay marriage PFD

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy reiterated today that the State of Alaska has no policy to deny Permanent Fund dividends to Alaskans just because they are in a gay marriage.

“The PFD should go to all eligible Alaskans regardless of their marital status,” Dunleavy wrote in a statement, the second such statement to come from the administration in the past two weeks.

“Despite recent media reports to the contrary, neither the State of Alaska nor the Department of Revenue have a policy of denying PFDs based on same-sex marital status. The State’s policy is that the unconstitutional statute currently on the books is not enforced, and if an individual is eligible under all the lawful criteria, he or she will receive a PFD,” said the statement from the Governor’s Office.

Dunleavy can only speak for his own administration, which has been responsible for dispensing the PFD for just one cycle. He can’t speak for the prior administrations and how they have handled same-sex marriages since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 struck down Alaska constitutional provision that recognizes marriage as between one man and one woman.

Earlier this year, a woman who is married to a member of the military and is living with her wife out of state, received a letter from the Permanent Fund Division that stated she had been out of state for too long to qualify for her PFD. Once the division learned she was married to a service person stationed in Florida, the division sent a letter of correction, saying she is in “payable” status. But the check was not sent to the woman because the Division could not get her to respond and say what to what address her check should be sent.

[Fake lawsuit: AG says PFD was already in process]

“After learning about the erroneous denial of one individual’s PFD, the Division remedied the matter in early November. That individual nevertheless subsequently filed a lawsuit in federal court. Any further questions about the lawsuit should be directed to the Department of Law,” the Governor’s Office said in a statement.

The Department of Revenue is encouraging anyone who believes they were denied a dividend based on his or her marital status to come forward so the mistake can be corrected.

Meanwhile, media reports continue to spread the narrative that the Dunleavy Administration is trying to prevent those dividends from going out. This week, a story in Slate.com perpetuated the myth that started with the lawsuit filed in November by the woman in question, with a headline stating “Alaska appears to be covering up illegal discrimination against same-sex couples.”

Even Alaska Public Media continues the narrative with its latest reporting, in which it allowed an unnamed state worker to claim that “As many as seven people were initially denied their 2019 Permanent Fund dividends because they’re married to same-sex members of the military or students living outside the state, according to an anonymous state worker quoted in newly filed court documents.”

Last week, the Department of Law published its own statement denying that the state was withholding dividends to people based on marital status.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Thanks for informing the public of the governor’s statements, as we cannot expect the mainstream Alaska media to do its job of laying out the truth…

  • Quote from the PFD website: “On the date I apply for the 2019 Permanent Fund Dividend, I have the intent to remain an Alaska resident indefinitely;”

    While initial reports indicated that the woman had been denied a PFD based on her same sex marital status, backed up by an official letter stating exactly that (letter is appended to the lawsuit), the facts presented also show that the woman willingly moved out of the state and lived in Florida for a period before marrying her same sex partner.

    This woman willingly moved out of Alaska as an unmarried person to be with her partner.

    That means that at the time she made the decision to leave the state, to reside in a different state for an indefinite period, she did not intend to remain an Alaskan resident indefinitely. That makes her ineligible to receive the PFD unless she is covered by one of the allowable exceptions.

    Being married to an active duty Alaska resident who is eligible for the PFD is an exception but she was not married when she willingly left the state.

    So it seems that the state will retroactively apply exceptions.

    To be fair and equitable the state needs to clearly define the limitations of this, apparently, new policy.

    How many months can someone live out of state as an unmarried companion of an eligible active duty Alaska resident (a condition that makes this person ineligible under Alaska law) before marrying and regaining their eligibility? Six months, a year, ten years?

    How would this apply in cases where the two former Alaskans hadn’t known each other prior to leaving the state but met and married afterward? Same exact circumstances…eligible active duty Alaska resident, former Alaska resident who is ineligible because he or she left the state. They then meet and marry…all out of state. Is the spouse now eligible?

    How would this work for the other exceptions?

    If someone left the state to work elsewhere (making that person ineligible) but then decided to attend out of state college would that person become retroactively eligible?

    It’s ridiculous to retroactively reinstate PFD eligibility to a person under these circumstances.

    This woman chose to leave Alaska as an unmarried person not covered by any allowable exception. Getting married out of state and after the fact shouldn’t negate that.

    • Careful where you are getting your “facts.” They might be “alternative-facts.” Heheh!

    • Perfect I could not have said all that better!!

  • The MSM has no reason, desire nor incentive to report the truth or desire about Dunleavy, Trump, Republicans or anything that goes against that doesn’t advance their socialist agenda.

  • Wait- so you’re saying that a left wing activist phonied up a case that had no merit, and the media repeated the lie to slander a conservative politician who’s taking on the establishment?

    Say it ain’t so..

  • Who or what is behind Ak Public Media?

    • Wellpath-the folks that got the no bid contract to run API. I’m wondering what sponsored content is gonna show up as news on APRN now.

  • I was told by a friend of Denali, the woman claiming discrimination based on her sexual preference/desires/lifestyle/marriage (did I cover everything?), that she wanted to teach the State a lesson. “Scare them straight!” was the phrase my friend used. This lawsuit, even after “cashing her check.”
    I am afraid the old adage, “Give them an inch…” applies here. We have given extra privileges and even greater toleration year after year to our gay community specifically and at large. But this only seems to embolden this segment of our population. It doesn’t make them any less human. And I am not saying I don’t like gay people or I want to hate or hurt them (sad I have to mention this). But if you don’t want to bake a cake for a gay person’s wedding, be prepared to pay up for the emotional damage caused by your refusal of your own service. Prepare to lose your business, reputation, etc. It could happen. It has happened. Florists, card designers, property owners, bakers across the US – many have suffered from the group that is often symbolized by their advocating of tolerance – you know – live and let live….unless…you have a differing opinion.
    This behavior is not tolerated or protected for any other part of our society. The cries of discrimination are heard even now by this woman even when an Alaskan PFD is paid out in a timely manner despite a questioned residency. Denali may be fully entitled, I admit I do not have all of her facts first hand. That’s great if she is. And she got her PFD. What a great time and country to live in by all!
    Yet if this “travesty” is ALL she can bring to the public’s attention, she’s doing pretty doggone well here in Alaska as far as gay OR straight people go. Maybe she has had awful times in employment and relationships. We don’t know. But if this is her hill to die on and go public with, she might have wisely waited for one with more elevation if she hopes to garner sympathy from the fellow citizens. Just my opinion of course (which won’t be tolerated by some, I am afraid!). Irony.
    I doubt that most gay folks these days can state specifically any greater emotional or financial damage than a nongay person experiences in the dailiness of life. But it seems that anything that doesn’t go their way can easily become framed and blamed because…they are gay. And now MY comments will surely be framed as hateful by some and all I did was make some observations.
    Perhaps Denali will chime in one of these times to “set us straight” with facts we are unaware of. Until then, all we can do is trust those nearest the facts are reporting them correctly. I do wish the best for Denali in her future personal and public relations.

    • “…all I did was make some observations.” And that was with, in your words, not having all her facts first hand.
      Did you have a point, Scott?

      • Civil discussion on a topic that affects many folks’ reputations hoping others might add to its accuracy.
        Bill, have you added anything that could be helpful? Is Dunleavy lying? Did Denali receive her check post suit? Are you aware of facts not published that can move the discussion forward in a productive manner?

        • Like most lawsuits Scott, the courts will determine the facts but you seem to need your “civil discussion” to help with this determination. And, for that matter, what are the published facts you implicitly imply exist?
          I won’t speculate on answers to your questions but are you thinking it would be productive if some on here did?

          • Bill, I don’t kid myself to think that a community’s discussion on this forum will help with the court’s determination.
            But exposing what facts we know does help the public to gain greater understanding to a current issue.
            I admit I do not know all of the facts. But the facts we all know are that Denali Smith chose to go forward with a law suit despite being made whole with her dividend. Somehow, the suit even gained national attention. And that was how Dunleavy heard about it despite his name headlining defendant’s list! Draw your own conclusions if this is a suit to make someone whole or make someone look bad.
            I have just completed reading the suit in its entirety. She never mentions that she got her check. One of her requests is: “F. Requiring Defendants to pay Plaintiff her 2019 PFD, applicable interest,
            costs, expenses, and reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988;”
            Not exactly good faith. My opinion, of course.
            Bill, thanks for chiming in on the discussion with a couple of questions. It helps us all to think through what may or not be afoot. Oh, attacking ideas are almost always preferable to attacking the proffer of ideas. Thanks for your support in that vein here.

          • Scott, you asked the question “Did Denali receive her check post suit?” And now it appears you are answering your own question by saying “She never mentions that she got her check.” Now it’s possible she hadn’t received it prior to the lawsuit but you also said “..facts we all know are that Denali Smith chose to go forward with a law suit despite being made whole with her dividend.”
            Which is it?

    • Heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend…

      Exactly these type of community discussions are what threw the elections when all kinds of outside folks started a variety of discussions on boards like this.

      The point I got from your comment is you pass gossip. Is thst what you wanted folks to get?

      • Maureen, although there was much more (probably too much for the average reader these days) to my post than the opening sentence you reference, you are correct in my passing on of second-hand information. It added little to my observations.
        In candor, that sentence was reactive to Denali’s friend who verbally attacked me for having an opinion about Denali’s method or the perceived purpose for her suit. I didn’t intend for it to sound like gossip as I was trying to be true to her concerned friend’s words. I wrongly assumed I was giving Denali some space and voice if she was not going to chime in to perhaps “straighten us all out” regarding her personal PFD travesty. Written again, Maureen, I would have simply left that part out. Maureen: 1. Scott: 0.

  • Geez, I was originally leaving open the possibility that someone may have a different qualified answer rather than what the PFD office stated. Neither Denali nor anyone else had shown otherwise. Until that time, the facts remain check first, suit for check second.

    • So……………………….this looks to me like you are saying something to the effect of the facts are one way until they change? Is that like alternative facts?

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