Anchorage voters urged to say no to discrimination

By June 1, 2017Press Releases

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2017
Contact: Casey Reynolds, ACLU of Alaska, (907) 263-2015, Creynolds@acluak.org

Anchorage, Alaska – Fair Anchorage, a coalition of businesses, labor unions, faith organizations, and community groups, is urging voters to say “No” to discrimination by signing a pledge to decline to sign the anti-transgender ballot initiative currently being circulated in our community.

“Anchorage sent a clear message two years ago—we won’t discriminate,” said Rev. Denise Sudbeck, a transgender woman, veteran, and pastor of MCC Last Frontier. “Voters shouldn’t buy the pitch that repealing our city’s non-discrimination protections for transgender people would somehow make us safer. Anchorage residents value fairness and equality and we believe that everyone in our city should be able to earn a living, frequent a business, earn an education, and raise a family free from the fear of discrimination. That is why I will decline to sign.”

On March 28, Kim Minnery, wife of Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery, submitted a ballot initiative application to the Municipality of Anchorage that would roll back key provisions of the non-discrimination ordinance passed by the Anchorage Assembly in 2015.

Among other things, the initiative filed by the Minnerys would bar the city from recognizing the existence of transgender people by defining sex for all municipal purposes as an “immutable biological condition” as determined at birth and would create a new special right to discriminate against transgender people by repealing the law protecting their right to use facilities “consistent with their gender identity.”

The initiative’s sponsors say they have already begun collecting the approximately 5,700 voter signatures they need to submit before July 20 for it to appear on the April 2018 municipal ballot.

“The backers of this initiative claim to be doing so in the name of religious freedom, but discrimination is not moral, discrimination is not an Alaskan value, and most importantly, discrimination is not Christian,” said Michael Burke, Rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Anchorage and member of Christians for Equality.

Members of our community who want to send a strong message that Anchorage can’t afford to bring back discrimination can pledge to decline to sign this damaging initiative online at fairanchorage.org.

###