Anchorage Rejects LGBT Rights Protections


Anchorage voters on Tuesday rejected a measure that would have extended existing nondiscrimination provisions to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Reports Anchorage Daily News:

Anchorage voters rejected a proposed ordinance to add legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people in a chaotic municipal election fraught with ballot shortages and high voter turnout in many precincts.

With 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.

The vote was expected to be close with Prop 5 originally polling ahead at 50 percent, so this substantial margin of defeat comes as quite a shock for advocates. A combination of reasons for the defeat have been floated.

A transphobic ad campaign run by opponents of the measure may have contributed, and misinformation that voters could register on the day they cast their ballot may not have helped, but some commentators are placing most of the blame on how the measure may have got caught in the cross-fire between mayoral candidates.

Reports Reuters:

[Matt Larkin, owner of Dittman Research, an Anchorage-based polling and political consulting company,] said he believed there was a major get-out-the-vote campaign conducted by initiative opponents and possibly backlash to a campaign tactic used by Sullivan challenger Paul Honeman, who tied himself to the initiative and implicitly criticized pro-Sullivan voters.

“He started running some ads that said, essentially, `Don’t be a dummy and vote for my opponent,’” Larkin said. Instead of diminishing support for Sullivan, an incumbent with high approval ratings, Honeman wound up diminishing support for the initiative, Larkin said.

Proactively taking a nondiscrimination ordinance to the ballot was a first-of-its-kind tactic that seemed set to pay off for LGBT equality advocates. This defeat will no doubt be closely analyzed for what went wrong so as to try and prevent future disappointments.

One Anchorage, the main group behind the nondiscrimination ordinance, released a statement on their website saying :

“When we look at our journey over the past year, we have built a stronger and more tolerant Anchorage, and know we have farther to go. Several hundred volunteers came forward to share their stories and reach out to voters regarding the need for the same legal protections for gay and transgender Alaskans. Nearly 1500 individuals provided resources, large and small. A diverse spectrum of Alaskans from business, religious communities, elected officials, and thousands of individuals from every walk of life, came together to support us and equality.

While we are disappointed at the interim election results, we could not be prouder of the honest campaign we ran.”

Related Reading:

Dear Mark, End Facebook’s Restrictive Gender Labels

Jason Mraz Supports Marriage Equality (VIDEO)

Parents of Trans Kids: It Gets Better (VIDEO)

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Neil Wykes.


Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W5 years ago

I had a long visit with in-laws up there in 2006. I was in Anchorage and met many, many gay people, mostly because a lot of them played or were friends of those that played on the town softball team.
We went out often together and I noticed NO problems at all. No one was closeted and everyone mixed it up socially. It was one of the most liberal, encompassing cities I'd ever been to.

So I find it completely surprising that this came out this way. Even my sis-in-law, who is a holier-than-thou fundamentalist Christian made exceptions for all these people.
Might've been because she'd played with them for so long; I don't know, but if she put aside her religious convictions to break bread and booze with them, I just don't understand how those people came to vote that way.

Lynn C.
Lynn C5 years ago

The Alaska I knew has been long ago taken over by those who see only the "resources" and the money to be made extracting those resources. Bakersfield, CA and most of Texas oil moved into the state in the 60's and that was the end of 'rugged individualism', no matter what you see on those macho, dumb TV specials. It's just another outpost for the continued devastation of our planet. This vote is a reflection of this invasion.

Anita Wischhusen
Anita Wisch5 years ago

Sarah Palin as the govenor......need I say more........ Stupidity runs up there in the cold....

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Get out of the dark ages and do the right thing to protect ALL the people in your state.

Nadine Hudak
Nadine H5 years ago


Sue H.
.5 years ago

Whatever happened to we are all created equal. Or should that be amended to as long as we are all exactly the same?

Lauren B.

For shame, Anchorage.

Suzy D.
Reverend Suzy D5 years ago

I knew Alaska was cold,but......

Mary M.
Mary M5 years ago

This is not only a problem in Alaska but also in other states as well. I have always been an advocate - that all are first and foremost - human beings, deserving of our respect. What one does in the privacy of their own home is their own business. Just like religion, you can believe or not, it's none of anyone else's business what I believe. These are personal choices, which should not affect those that do not wish to be part of it, so in essence those that do, should also be left alone.

Allan Yorkowitz
.5 years ago

I am truly surprised at the outcome of this vote. I thought Alaska was a given....