Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Anchorage Assembly Passes Important LGBT Protections Ordinance By Wide Margin

Good news from the Anchorage Assembly which passed, by a vote of 9-2, important LGBT protections making it illegal to discriminate over sexual orientation or gender identity.

From the Alaska Dispatch News:

The new local civil rights ordinance, the first of its kind in Alaska, will take effect as soon as it is signed by Assembly Chair Dick Traini, with the Assembly rejecting an amendment to require a public advisory vote in April.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said he does not plan to veto the ordinance, which was co-authored by Assembly members Bill Evans and Patrick Flynn and passed shortly before midnight Tuesday. The ordinance adds protections to Anchorage equal rights laws for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people in housing, employment and public accommodations and includes exemptions for religious groups and those with ministerial duties.

In a joint statement released immediately after the Assembly vote, the organizations Alaskans Together for Equality, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, the Pride Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign praised the ordinance and the efforts of Evans and Flynn. Evans usually votes with the Assembly’s conservative bloc, and Flynn usually votes with the liberal bloc.

“With today’s passage of a strong and fair nondiscrimination ordinance through the Anchorage Assembly, we have taken yet another step toward living up to the Alaskan values of fairness and treating others as we would want to be treated,” the statement said. “We have joined the vanguard of over 200 cities that say you should not be fired or lose your home simply based on who you are or whom you love.”

You may recall that in August of 2009 the Anchorage Assembly passed a similar LGBT protections bill but it was vetoed by then Mayor Dan Sullivan days later.

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