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04/19/2007


Anchorage May Have Rejected LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in Day of Chaotic, Confused Elections

Proposition 5, an ordinance adding legal protections for LGBT people that advocates have been trying to pass for 35 years, appears to have been rejected by voters in the municipal election there yesterday, though "allegations of improper voting registration, polling places running out of ballots and even voters being turned away, cast a heavy pall over a day that should represent the best of the democratic process" according to the Alaska Dispatch.

The Anchorage Daily News reports:

AnchorageWith more than 90 percent of the precincts reporting late Tuesday, 58 percent of voters had voted against Proposition 5, the equal rights ordinance that was far and away the most controversial and emotional component of this spring's election. As of late Tuesday, neither side was claiming victory nor conceding defeat.

The main group opposing the measure was silent, and its leader did not appear at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center or issue any kind of written statement...

...An unexpectedly high turnout, with some polling places running out of ballots, resulted in a large number of votes that might be on "questioned" ballots, which have to be counted by hand. The final results may be days or longer away, said municipal clerk Barbara Gruenstein.

AnchorageThe NYT adds:

The vote followed an unusually loud and expensive campaign for a city ballot measure in Anchorage. The organizers of Proposition 5, a group called One Anchorage, included prominent politicians from both sides of the aisle (Alaska’s United States senators, Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, and Mark Begich, a Democrat, both said they supported it) and the group outspent the opposition more than 4 to 1.

One Anchorage, which had raised about $340,000 as of last week, received some of its support from outside the state, including a $25,000 donation from Tim Gill, a Colorado billionaire who has given generously to gay causes. Opposition was led by conservative religious leaders in Alaska, including within the Catholic Church, and was financed largely by one source, the Anchorage Baptist Temple and its leader, the Rev. Jerry Prevo.

AnchorageRight-wing religious conservatives had been ramping up their efforts in recent months, and this week broadcast a couple of misleading video claiming "transvestites" will suddenly swamp day care centers  and gym locker rooms.

But there's lots of issue with the voting process in Anchorage, and which votes will actually count, the Alaska Dispatch explains:

Prop. 5 on Tuesday's ballot faced staunch opposition from conservative detractors, primarily the religious right. It may have been their get-out-the-vote effort that left Prop. 5 gasping on the floor while simultaneously launching Sullivan to what Matt Larkin, president of Dittman Research, said was quite possibly the widest-ever margin of victory in an Anchorage mayoral race.

But that get-out-the-vote effort -- led by the Alaska Family Council and its president, Jim Minnery, and the Catholic Anchor newspaper -- didn't come without its own controversy on Tuesday. A Facebook post by the "No on 5" campaign erroneously stated that unregistered voters could register on election day and have their vote counted.

City code requires that a voter register 30 days prior to an election if they wish to take part, and City Clerk Gruenstein confirmed that, saying those that registered on election day will automatically have their ballots placed with other questionable ballots. Ultimately, those who registered on election day will have their votes denied. But she couldn't say how many such votes had been cast.

"Will a lot of those questioned ballots be tossed because they're not registered? I can't say for certain, but it’s possible," she said.


More Anti-Trans Messaging In Anchorage Discrimination Battle

Proposition5Hate

Anchorage residents vote next week on whether to pass Proposition 5, an ordinance including sexual orientation and gender identity in the city's anti-discrimination policies.

As the vote nears, right wing religious groups have been going all out to halt equality. Yesterday they released a video claiming "transvestites" will suddenly swamp day care centers should the ordinance pass and today brings a new scare tactic commercial aimed at small business owners, particularly gym owners.

The script:

Steve owns a gym in Anchorage. But if Proposition 5 passes, Steve will be forced to open the women's locker room to anyone who claims a female identity. If Steve says yes, he'll lose customers. If he says no, he can be fined or imprisoned. Anchorage is already a tolerant city. Vote 'no' on Proposition 5.

Watch the heinous display, AFTER THE JUMP. And to help the pro-inclusion group One Anchorage, click here.

Continue reading "More Anti-Trans Messaging In Anchorage Discrimination Battle" »


Ad Opposing Anchorage LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Warns of 'Transvestite' Child Care Workers: VIDEO

Anchorage

As weve mentioned several times in recent weeks, Anchorage is set to vote on April 5 on an anti-discrimination ordinance that LGBT advocates have been working to pass for 35 years, and opponents are ramping up their action against it.

An opposition group has begun running an offensive anti-gay and transphobic ad to convince voters to reject it.

The Anchorage Daily News reports:

In the ad, a cartoon "transvestite" who wants to work at a day care is drawn as a man with a jutting jaw and body hair, wearing a short pink dress, red high heels and lipstick. If Prop. 5 passes, the narrator of the ad says, "it will be illegal for Carol to refuse a job to a transvestite who wants to work with toddlers."

That imagery is an "offensive, stigmatizing and distorted" representation of a transgender person, said Trevor Storrs, a spokesman for the One Anchorage campaign.

One Anchorage held a press conference today asking opponents to remove it.

MinneryAlaska Family Council President Jim Minnery, who is behind the ad, defended it:

"I think it's a shocking flaw in Prop. 5 and shows profound disrespect to voters that the authors didn't feel it was important to provide a definition of transgender identity," Minnery said. He defended his group's free speech rights and said the cartoon caricature was meant to grab attention. "You kind of have to cut to the chase; you have 30 seconds," he said.

Since the law doesn't define transgender, why couldn't it include a cross-dressing man, Minnery asked.

Watch the ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

To help out One Anchorage with a donation, click HERE.

Continue reading "Ad Opposing Anchorage LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Warns of 'Transvestite' Child Care Workers: VIDEO" »


Anti-Discrimination Battle Coming To A Head In Anchorage

AnchorageAs you may know, Anchorage is currently embroiled in battle against anti-gay discrimination.

In less than two weeks, the Alaskan city's residents will vote on whether to include sexual orientation and gender identity in its anti-discrimination ordinance. While equality advocates are optimistic about their odds of passing Proposition 5, the Los Angeles Times reports that conservative Christians are ramping up their opposition and that it may be a drag out fight:

Antidiscrimination advocates say a new initiative on the April 3 municipal ballot — gaining almost more attention in Alaska these days than the U.S. presidential race — has won unprecedented support from faith leaders, including the Episcopal bishop and some 50 other churches and religious groups.

Twice as many churches have mobilized to defeat the measure.

Now, thousands of dollars in contributions from grass-roots advocates on both sides, as well as from donors outside Alaska, are funding an onslaught of television and radio ads as Alaska becomes the latest front in the national debate over gay rights.

Critics have mobilized church congregations and gathered support from religious conservative groups outside Alaska to warn Anchorage residents that the ordinance could strike a blow to business owners and jeopardize religious freedom.

In a television commercial, they warned that a gay bar owner who wanted to hire gay waiters and a Christian bookstore owner who wanted to hire straight booksellers could both run afoul of the ordinance if it is passed.

“No. 1, we don’t believe that there is widespread discrimination that’s preventing gays and lesbians from having jobs and getting loans and housing. There’s ample evidence from those in the [gay and lesbian] community who say Anchorage is a very tolerant place,” said Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council, who is heading the No-on-5 Protect Anchorage campaign.

Journalist Kim Murphy concludes, "As the campaign goes into its final week, no one is betting confidently on passage." Sounds pretty dire. Anyone interested in learning more about Yes on 5, the equality initiative working to pass Anchorage's anti-discrimination measure, check out their website.


Anchorage, Alaska in Final Push Toward LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law

Dan Savage alerts us to a situation in Anchorage, Alaska, where they are trying to pass an equal rights initative on the ballot. protections they've been fighting for for 35 years.

AnchorageRead Dan's whole post about it here.

He writes:

To combat the inevitable, last-minute anti-gay/anti-trans hate campaign, One Anchorage is raising money to get television ads on the air up here in the last weeks of the campaign. They're asking people to consider donating $35—one dollar for each year that Anchorage has been fighting for equality and basic civil rights protections. (There are no limits on campaign donations for initiatives up here, so if you're moved to donate $350 or $3500 or $3,500,000, please don't hesitate.) There's also the 35/35/35 Club: Ask 35 friends to donate $35 each. You can set up your own page at One Anchorage and you'll get a fundraising thermometer of your very own!

We scored major victories in California and Washington state this week. But the LGBT community in Anchorage is still struggling to achieve the most basic civil rights protections.


Anchorage, Alaska to Try for LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Back in August 2009, you may recall, Anchorage, Alaska Mayor Dan Sulivan vetoed an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance passed by the Assembly. Sullivan said he hadn't seen any evidence of discrimination.

Anchorage Now they're trying again, this time via the ballot, the Anchorage Daily News reports:

A local group -- One Anchorage -- filed an application Thursday that would put an initiative on the April 2012 municipal election ballot asking voters to ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people...

...As it stands, the anti-discrimination ordinance already makes it illegal to withhold housing, employment and other opportunities based on race, gender, age, religion, marital status, or physical and mental disability. One Anchorage wants voters to add "sexual orientation or transgender identity" to the list, said the group's spokesman, Trevor Storrs.

"It's a new name for a very old cause that we've all been working toward, which is the same legal protections for all. It's been going on for decades," Storrs said. "What this initiative does is ensures that the gay and transgender Alaskans, who work hard and play by the rules, will have the exact same legal protections as any other Anchorage resident."


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