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Alaska lawmakers apologize for laughter at question on civil unions

Monday, February 18, 2013

JUNEAU, Alaska — Leaders of the Alaska House apologized Monday for the laughter that erupted from some caucus members when asked about same-sex partnerships.

During a news conference Friday 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 this as majority members laughing off or laughing at the idea of civil unions.

In a statement Monday, House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage), and House Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), called the reaction inappropriate.

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 Friday that the issue of same-sex partnerships did not come up during discussion of the principles. He said the GOP-led caucus focused on things that allow people to “have a great life,” including issues related to the economy and opportunities for Alaskans.

He said there was not a discussion on “what happens inside your home.”

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16 more reader comments:

  1. too little…too late!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:18pm
  2. I bet they were crossing their fingers, though.

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:19pm
  3. An apology is fine. Trouble is, you said what you believe the first time. You just got caught out an criticized for it.

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:19pm
  4. You’ve shown your true colors! Now the voters will know!

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:20pm
  5. So let’s save some money and get rid of opposite sex benefits if unions and benefits have zero to do with “having a great life”. What gives then? These lawmakers and Republicans are a joke!

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:23pm
  6. Junior high school snarkyness. But what does it say about the people who voted for them? When, oh, when will we have mandatory testing for our candidates? I wish some political action group would come up with a test that smart candidates could take and then challenge their opponents to take to see which really are most knowledgeable on this country’s history and current issues.

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:53pm
  7. You know the tide has turned in our struggle for equality when pathetic homophones like these guys feel they have to apologize overnight!

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 3:14pm
  8. bunch of high school mentality fools

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 3:21pm
  9. I agree with J.J. When will there be mandatory testing for lawmakers and candidates for many opposing and suggestible premise if the law?The point is that they made a laugh at a civil union hearing, and apologized for it. Some can forgive..and a few may turn and walk away and still be very angry about it. My statement is that, the joke was done in their favor,…and the public was able to view that as against the civil union group, which is not good. Though, these same sex benefits will have their issues and many will need to stay alert and categorize what and how the statement was favorable. Or dishonorable. I’d say. Watch it.

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 3:24pm
  10. were they forced to apologize or did they really mean it

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 3:40pm
  11. I’m sure they were pressured into apologizing. To late, first impressions let “us” know your true feelings.

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 3:55pm
  12. Idiots! Actually, Sara Palin walked in the room just as they asked the question, hence the laughter!

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 4:31pm
  13. …but why apologize for something you really feel in your heart (or what you think passes for one)?

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 5:12pm
  14. I think the Democrats will have the last laugh. Those goons. What do you expect from a state that had a tool for a governor…Sara Palin.

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 5:19pm
  15. IMBECILES!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 at 8:24pm
  16. I live in Alaska &, while my life is great, it’s not complete as long as I’m not legally allowed to marry the woman I love. These idiots are thinking more along the lines of what will make the lives of heterosexuals great while they leave the homosexuals to live as second class citizens.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 4:06pm