By The Associated Press
11:52 AM AKST, February 18, 2013
Leaders of the Alaska House are apologizing 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.
In a statement Monday, House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt and House Speaker Mike Chenault called the reaction inappropriate.
Chenault said the laughter was in response to which legislator "had to field the difficult question, and did not go to the merits of the issue." Still, he said it wasn't appropriate and apologized.
The House majority's full statement is as follows:
Alaska House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage, and Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, released the following statements today apologizing on behalf of the Caucus for the inappropriate reactions of some members near the end of last Friday’s press availability. Caucus leaders were asked for the Caucus’ position on the legalization of civil unions for gay couples, which drew scattered laughter from some of the legislators present.
“I would like to make two things clear: laughter was not an appropriate response under any circumstances, and we regret and apologize for the reaction to that question. It was a serious question; it is a serious issue – and it is not something the Caucus has taken a position on.”
“I completely agree: laughter was inappropriate. However, it’s 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.”