For Immediate Release: July 27, 2017
Contact: Casey Reynolds, (907) 263-2015, Casey_w_reynolds@hotmail.com
Anchorage, AK – Fair Anchorage, a coalition of business, non-profit, labor, and faith organizations, learned late today that an anti-transgender ballot initiative backed by Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery was tentatively certified by the Anchorage Municipal Clerk to go on Anchorage’s mayoral election ballot on April 3, 2018.
Minnery’s initiative would have done two things if enacted:
- Bar the Municipality of Anchorage from recognizing the existence of transgender people by defining sex for all municipal purposes as an “immutable biological condition” as determined at birth.
- 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.”
“Anchorage residents know we all took a huge step towards fair and equal treatment for everyone when we passed our non-discrimination ordinance two years ago,” said Fair Anchorage Community Organizer Andrea Zekis. “It is sad that Minnery wants to drag all of us back into a fight about an equal rights law that has worked well and without incident. His hateful attacks on trans folks have been heartbreaking, but the energy we’ve found in our community to resist this attempt to strip people like me of our equal rights has been even more heartwarming.”
Zekis continued, “Fair Anchorage is fully committed to fighting Minnery all the way to the ballot box. We’ll ensure voters hear first-hand what it means to be transgender in Anchorage. They’ll hear of the taunting, bullying, and demonizing we live with every day. They will come to know it is our transgender neighbors who live in fear and most need our compassion and protection.”
The Anchorage Municipal Clerk found that only 6,200 of the 8,200 signatures (about 75%) collected by Minnery met the legal threshold for being counted towards putting the initiative to voters.
Fair Anchorage’s “Decline to Sign” campaign has now persuaded over 6,500 residents to go online or sign up in person to reject the substance of Minnery’s discriminatory initiative and work to fight it when it comes to the ballot this spring. That means more people chose to decline to sign than Minnery had in valid signatures.
“We are disappointed that rather than have a discussion about how to jumpstart the Anchorage economy or make our neighborhoods safer, Mr. Minnery has decided that April’s election should be a referendum on whether our transgender neighbors deserve the same rights as the rest of us,” said Fair Anchorage Chair Joshua A. Decker. “Anchorage needs to move forward and work on building a better, more prosperous city in which everyone can live, work, and play. Rather fighting Minnery’s old divisive battles, we should all work to affirm that Anchorage welcomes everyone and that fairness is an Alaskan value.”
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