The state Supreme Court ruled in Anchorage that it was unconstitutional to bar benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees, a victory for gay rights advocates.

Overturning a lower court ruling, the state high court said barring benefits for state and city employees' same-sex partners violated the Alaska Constitution's equal protection clause.

Anchorage City Atty. Fred Boness said, "We're disappointed that we lost, and I think it means we're going to have to provide those benefits in the future to qualifying same-sex couples."