Republican Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell's nominee for the Alaska Judiciary Council would like to see Alaskans prosecuted for having sex outside marriage.
In telephone testimony, Don Haase of Valdez told the state Senate Judiciary Committee that premarital sex should be outlawed because it could "cause violence" and "spread disease," according to The Anchorage Daily News.
Haase admitted to the committee that he had failed to disclose that he had been president of Eagle Forum Alaska, a blog that advocates for conservative principles.
Members of the committee noted that one blog post at the website called for the criminalization of adultery.
"Lawmakers and judges in Michigan are holding married couples accountable for their vows of fidelity," Ohio pastor Rod Parsley wrote. "An appeals court has ruled that anyone involved in an extramarital affair can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison."
"Since adultery is a felony in Michigan, the act of having sex outside marriage could put illicit couples behind bars... Perhaps court systems across the nation should treat adultery for what it truly is: lying, cheating and stealing," the post suggested.
Democratic state Sen. Joe Paskvan asked Haase if he thought adultery should be a felony in Alaska.
"I don't see that that would rise to the level of a felony," Haase replied.
"Do you believe it should be a crime?" Paskvan wondered.
"Yeah, I think it's very harmful to have extramarital affairs. It's harmful to children, it's harmful to the spouse who entered a legally binding agreement to marry the person that's cheating on them," Haase said.
"What about premarital affairs -- should that be a crime?" Paskvan pressed.
"I think that would be up to the voters certainly. If it came before (the state) as a vote, I probably would vote for it ... I can see where it would be a matter for the state to be involved with because of the spread of disease and the likelihood that it would cause violence. I can see legitimate reasons to push that as a crime," Haase admitted.
The committee didn't ask about other writings at Eagle Forum Alaska that show a clear anti-gay bias.
"The vast majority of people are opposed to same-sex shack-ups and the very nature of this behavior is so disgusting to many of us that most people would rather not even think about it, much less speak out," Douglas Grimm wrote in one letter posted by Haase.
"Women who engage in sex with other women, and men who have sex with other men, and call it a loving relationship are simply deluding themselves into thinking it is OK. It is just flat out wrong, but as a free country we tolerate many types of distasteful behaviors. Tolerance is OK, but don't expect us to accept it."
As a member of the Alaska Judicial Council, Haase would be responsible for selecting judges. He told the committee that he wouldn't let his personal feelings get in the way of that duty.
Haase said that he opposed judicial activism, citing Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, as an example.
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