Alaska nominee says sex outside of marriage should be illegal

The Anchorage Daily NewsMarch 24, 2011 

JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell's appointee for the panel that nominates state judges testified Wednesday that he would like to see Alaskans prosecuted for having sex outside of marriage.

The candidate, Don Haase of Valdez, also admitted under questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that his official resume failed to disclose his leadership role in Eagle Forum Alaska, which advocates for social conservative issues. He most recently was president of the organization, but resigned when he learned of his nomination, he said.

Haase, picked by Parnell for one of three public seats on the Alaska Judicial Council, said that he wouldn't let his personal beliefs influence which candidates he'd approve for judgeships.

"It would be a very convoluted process to sit on this board to change the law," said Haase, testifying by telephone. "It would be an inconvenient way to do it."

By the time the hearing on Haase ended -- there was some 40 minutes of questioning by the panel's three Democrats, some questions suggesting that Haase had attempted to scrub clean a record of extreme beliefs -- his nomination may turn on an issue of geography, not personal values.

Haase would replace a member from Ketchikan, whose departure leaves the council without a public representative from Southeast Alaska's First Judicial District. Valdez is in the third district, headquartered in Anchorage.

The state constitution mandates that council appointments be considered by "area representation." That has been interpreted to mean one public member from each of the state's three most populous judicial districts, Larry Cohn, executive director of the council, told the committee. In the 52-year history of the council, Southeast Alaska was without a representative for only two years, he said.

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