[JURIST] The Alaska Supreme Court issued an opinion [PDF text] Friday ending the state practice of denying benefits to same-sex partners of public employees. While the high court determined that the policy violated the equal protection clause of the Alaska Constitution [text] because it treated unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples differently, the benefits plans will remain in effect until the court determines a remedy. The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska [advocacy website] deemed the ruling a victory, and predicted it could influence courts in other states. In contrast, Governor Frank H. Murkowski [official website] expressed outrage over the ruling and directed the office of Alaska Attorney General David W. Marquez [official profile] to work to overturn it. Alaska was one of the first states to impose a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] in 1996. AP has more.