Attorney disputes characterizing check denial as a mistake

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JUNEAU, Alaska An attorney for a woman suing over initial denial of an Alaska oil-wealth fund check because of her same-sex marriage says a state employee indicated there have been other similar cases.

Caitlin Shortell, in a court filing, didn’t identify the employee, citing retaliation fears. She says the person said check division employees were asked to identify 2019 cases denied based on absence of an accompanying same-sex spouse after Denali Nicole Smith sued.

Shortell says she was told roughly seven cases had been identified.

She says the person indicated a prior division director said it would take legislative action or litigation to stop enforcement of laws barring recognition of same-sex marriage.

The Department of Law said Friday there is no one to the check division’s knowledge who’s “similarly situated” to Smith.