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Opposing Groups on Controversial Ballot Measure Reach out to Community Councils

February 23, 2012|By Christine Kim | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The 2012 Municipal election is less than a month and a half away, and the debate on a controversial issue is heating up. The ballot measure groups are campaigning for and against is Proposition 5, an equal rights initiative that would extend certain rights to gay and transgender people.

If voters pass Prop. 5 in April's Municipal election, the Anchorage rights initiative would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender identity in three areas: employment, public housing, and public accommodation.

Trevor Storrs from the group "One Anchorage" said supporters are reaching out to community councils, asking leaders to pass a resolution in favor of the proposition. Storrs spoke in front of the Abbott Loop Community Council Thursday night, asking the council to vote on a resolution in support.

“What this does is it doesn’t add another law, but strengthens, making sure no one group is discriminated against,” said Storrs. “And knowing that this community has a level of tolerance by adding sexual gender, we further strengthen the law and the value of what already exists here in Anchorage.”

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But a group in opposition, called "Protect Your Rights, Vote No on 5" is also reaching out to community leaders about its stance: that government shouldn't force employers to make decisions that may conflict with their values. Dave Branson, the Board Chair of the Alaska Family Council spoke against the initiative.

“It's a trigger to harmful legal action against individuals, companies, churches, private schools, but in and of itself it’s a problem,” said Dave Bronson. “We're not worried this will migrate into something worse. This is pretty harmful in and of itself.”

It’s a proposed change in law that brings out strong beliefs on both sides of the issue that’s now in the hands of Anchorage voters come April 3.

The Abbott Loop Community Council voted the resolution down Thursday night. It had been expected to vote at its next meeting in March, but council bylaws allow an immediate vote in the events of a two-thirds supermajority, which was present Thursday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the results of a Thursday vote by the Abbott Loop Community Council.

Email Christine Kim

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