The State of Alaska took a step toward equal rights earlier this week when a Supreme Court ruling came down that will change the way same-sex couples are taxed for property.
Gayle Schuh and Julie Schmidt have been together for 36 years, living here in Alaska for the past 11. Despite their long-term relationship, by law, the state of Alaska only recognizes them as roommates and not a couple.
In 2010 Schuh and Scmidt, along with two other couples, filed a lawsuit against the state over a law that they believed unconstitutionally discriminated against same-sex couples. The state law denied them equal access to a $150,000 property tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled veterans because of their partnership.
After 4 long years, the Supreme Court upheld a 2011 ruling by the Superior Court, a ruling that Schuh and Schmidt feel is a step in the right direction towards equality.
"It's gratifying to know that you did something right and you did it for the right reason and that others are going to benefit," Schuh said. "Others in our community will benefit."
The Supreme Court ruling was made available on Friday. In response to the opinion, the Department of Law released a statement through the Attorney General's Office which read, "because of the potential implications of this case, it will take time to thoroughly evaluate the decision."