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Anchorage Gays Want, Need Anti-Discrimination Protections

Anchorage Gays Want, Need Anti-Discrimination Protections

Activists in Anchorage believe they’ve got the petition numbers to get LGBT anti-discrimination protections on the ballot next April.

And to back the need for the law, they’ve released results from a survey showing widespread discrimination against LGBT people.

Local LGBT group Identity says they conducted the survey in response to a comment from Republican Mayor Dan Sullivan in 2009 when he vetoed the equal rights ordinance that the Anchorage assembly had passed.

“Quite frankly, I just don’t think there’s enough evidence to support the necessity for an ordinance,” Sullivan said in 2009.  “And you combine that with the overwhelming support from the community to veto it, and it made my decision pretty clear.”

“We took that, and many other people’s questions to heart, and Identity took it truly to heart, and they took the steps forward to do this survey,” said Trevor Storrs from One Anchorage, who are organizing the ballot initiative.

The survey found similar levels of discrimination, harassment and bias to one conducted in 1985.

Nearly half of respondents reported being harassed by employers or other employees, whilst a fifth believed they were turned down for a job when otherwise qualified or denied a promotion. 15 percent said they were fired by their employer based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

A fifth said they’d been harassed by a landlord or other tenants, and one in ten said they were denied a housing lease, even though they were otherwise qualified, because they were LGBT.

Three quarters reported experienced verbal abuse, and 43 percent were subjected to threats of physical violence. One in ten had seen their property damaged.

In order to avoid discrimination, three in four had hid their sexual orientation.

Said local activist Christopher Constant, of the ballot initiative:

“Putting the people’s rights up to a vote of the people is a terrifying precedent — imagine asking voters whether people should have the right to marry, the right to live in a house. Damn it! There are going to be consequences if we lose. We have to win,” he said.

Related stories:
Judge: Alaska’s Tax Rules Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

Have An Affair, Go To Jail Says Alaskan Judicial Council Nominee

Proposed Alaska Abortion Amendment Found Unconstitutional

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19 comments

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2:31PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

Good luck Anchorage! We need to stop treating people differently, for ANY reason. ALL people should have the same rights in a civilized society. Guess it means we aren't quite civilized.

8:15PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Wow, as someone who was born and raised in Anchorage I find it hard to believe that things are barely changed from 1985! But then, I'm looking from the outside as I'm not LGBT and I was only 4 in 1985. I certainly don't deny that we have problems still but I would hope that we've progressed a fair amount since then. Regardless, I really hope that they add the sexual orientation non-discrimination clause to the law. And I agree with Britin, Sullivan is an asshat, to put it mildly....I would use far harsher words....I despise him.

3:44PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Unless I missed, Alaska was still a state........

3:38PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

good luck to you Anchorage

2:03PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

It seems the ROMANS considered themselves civilized too? What did THEY do? But yet there was little FREEDOM. Equal Rights and Freedom are just spoken words, unless enforced...

1:56PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Good luck Anchorage!

1:43PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Equal rights to all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation!

12:22PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

"Equal rights should not mean special rights" ~ This is what I hear when talking to my "conservative" friends.... Well I would agree except we keep proving the need for those "special " rights by articles like this... Until people are people no matter what/who/where then these things will be needed to ensure fair treatment.

Terry T : A total @sshat of a Republican at that, this same jerk just got our local Assembly to create a new law about sitting and laying on the sidewalks because of one homeless person trying to get our "illustrious" Mayor to address our homeless issue! So now it is illegal in the Municipality of Anchorage to sit or lay down on public property... This is just another "shining" example of our "officials" not giving a damn about the people they SUPPOSEDLY represent!

11:49AM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Isn't it just pathetic that in 2011 (almost 2012) we have to be talking about BASIC human rights?A right to housing, a job, to be secure in one's person, to marry-these are NO BRAINERS!!! And yet, they are denied, simply because of what a person, a HUMAN BEING, is or is perceived! How dare we call ourselves a civilized society?

11:39AM PST on Nov 29, 2011

How much longer will it be before God kills Republicanism? With so much harm done to the few by Republicanism I would hope it will be soon.

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