Alaska Gov. Parnell’s Nominee Believes Sex Outside Of Marriage Should Be Illegal

Don Haase

Gov. Sean Parnell’s (R-AK) nominee to the Alaska Judicial Council says he won’t “let his personal beliefs influence which candidates he’d approve for judgeships,” but given Don Haase’s extreme position that sex outside of marriage should be illegal, his assurances may fall on deaf ears. Parnell says he appointed Haase to the Council — which vets applicants for district, superior, and appellate courts and submits the names to the governor — to fulfill a constitutional requirement of “area representation.” Haase ssured lawmakers that imposing his views on marriage through the council would be “inconvenient.” From the hearing:

SEN. JOE PASKVAN (D): Do you believe it should be a crime?

HAASE: 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.

PASKVAN: What about premarital affairs — should that be a crime?

HAASE: 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.

But Judiciary Committee Chairman Hollis French (D) was not impressed and “closed the hearing without a vote on Haase’s nomination, saying he wanted to take a ‘deeper look’ at the constitutional requirement” for area representation.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear where Parnell stands on the divorce issue, but he has his own share of very conservative social positions. A big fan of Focus on the Family, Parnell vetoed a $3 million expansion of a public health program for lower-income women and children because less than one percent of the funding could go to cover abortion services. “I want to be able to provide those services. But if your governor doesn’t stand for life and liberty, as he understands it in his conscience, then you don’t have a governor,” Parnell said at the time, apparently oblivious to the fact that the veto denied health services to “1,200 to 1,300 children and 218 pregnant women.” Parnell is also the only governor who has not accepted planning grants to establish a new health care insurance exchange in 2014.

During a debate in 2010, Parnell was asked how old the earth was. He refused to answer, replying simply, “only God knows.” “I really don’t know. I mean, for either one of us to do it, would be quite speculative.” You can watch that exchange here.