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10/20/14 - U.S. Supreme Court allows Alaska same-sex marriages to go forward

Same-sex marriage legal again in Alaska.
 
 
The U.S. Supreme Court denied the state a stay that would have halted the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the 9th Circuit Court heard the state's appeal early next year.
 
 
The Alaska District Court overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban on Sept. 12. Couples began applying for licenses on a week ago Monday and three couples were allowed to wed immediately. As others sat out the mandatory three-day waiting period, the state was granted a temporary stay by the 9th Circuit Court on Wednesday.
 
 
Due to the Supreme Court's denial of the request to halt the stay, same-sex couples can receive marriage licenses when state courts and offices today.
 
 
The 9th Circuit will hear the state's appeal early next year. The state must file its brief by late January 2015.
 
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Governor talks with Alaska National Guard members about sexual assault and other allegations 
 
Gov. Sean Parnell met with Alaska National Guard members amid ongoing criticism about the administration's response to allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the Guard.
Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow says hundreds of Guard members attended the town hall at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Sunday.
 
Leighow said by email that Parnell was addressing changes that are being implemented within the Guard and taking members' questions. She says Guard leadership was not in attendance.
 
A report from the National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations found that victims did not trust the system because of a lack of confidence in the command. In response, Parnell asked the leader of the Guard to resign.
 
Parnell vowed to implement the report's recommendations to help restore confidence.
 
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Leaked report details sexual assault, infidelity, excessive drinking, bullying by three Army National Guard recruiters 
 
Investigative files show years of alleged sexual and other misconduct among officers within the Alaska Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion. The files, leaked to the Alaska Dispatch News, were prepared between 2010 and 2014.
 
The Alaska Dispatch News reports (http://bit.ly/1tDkRdW ) the files describe a unit in which officers cheated on their wives, bullied civilians, drank to excess and made demeaning comments about women, including fellow soldiers.
 
Most of the leaked files contain portions of the full investigations and do not provide defense statements from the officers or the final results of the investigations.
 
Gov. Sean Parnell has been criticized for not acting quickly enough in response to allegations of misconduct within the Guard. News organizations and others have requested information on the administration's response and Guard records.
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Early or absentee voting begins today
 
Voters can apply for an absentee ballot by mail by October 25th and then mail the completed ballot back to the Division of Elections, making sure the ballot is postmarked by November 4.
 
Online voting is also available beginning at 8 a.m. Today. Online voters must apply to vote by Nov. 3rd, and then ensure the Division of Elections receives the electronic ballot before 8 p.m. On November 4th.
 
Another option is to vote absentee in person at one of the Region 2 elections office in Anchorage at 2525 Gambell, or at Anchorage City Hall at 632 West 6th Avenue.

 
For more information about voting options call the Division of Elections toll free at 1-877-375-6508 or visit www.elections.alaska.gov.
 

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