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September 2, 2014

Open Thread: National Columnist Dan Savage Talks-Up One Anchorage

On Thursday, nationally syndicated columnist (and creator of the “Santorum Google Bomb”) Dan Savage did a great write-up on his blog about One Anchorage. He put our Proposition 5 (yup, that’s what it will be on the ballot) in perspective compared to the big news coming out of Washington State:

Washington State Got Marriage Equality This Week—But Anchorage Doesn’t Even Have Basic Civil Rights Protections for LGBT People

Thirty-five years—that’s how long they’ve been fighting for basic civil rights protections up here in Anchorage, Alaska.

The city and county governments of Anchorage combined into one body in 1976—the Municipality of Anchorage—and the new Assembly put together an equal rights ordinance that covered race, sex, religion, marital status, and “sexual preference.” Anchorage’s 11-member Assembly approved the new Equal Rights Ordinance unanimously. Then Dr. Jerry Prevo, pastor of the Anchorage Baptist Temple, organized a campaign to pressured the mayor into deleting the protections for sexual preference from the ordinance. Prevo then went after the assemblymembers and managed to scare enough off that there weren’t enough votes to override the mayor and restore “sexual preference” to Anchorage’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

In 1992/1993 the city tried again—but this time the Equal Rights Ordinance only covered municipal employees. It was approved by the Assembly and signed into law by the mayor. But Jerry Prevo organized the opposition, ran haters against the assemblymembers who had approved the law, and Prevo’s new Assembly repealed the Equal Rights Ordinance.

In 2009 the city tried again: Ordinance 64—an equal rights bill that covered “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression”—was taken up by the Anchorage Assembly. Dr. Jerry Prevo once again led the opposition, this time with a reach-around from Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council. Anchorage’s acting mayor had pledged to sign the bill into law so the Prevo and Minnery did all they could to delay passage. They bused people to Anchorage from Wasilla—remember Wasilla?—and from bible camps outside of Anchorage to testify against the bill, drawing testimony out for weeks. The anti folks testified that they would never hire or rent to gays or lesbians and then turned around and argued that there was no need for the law because gays and lesbians aren’t discriminated against.

The Assembly approved Ordinance 64 by a 7-4 vote. But Prevo and Minnery had successfully run out the clock: Anchorage had a new mayor—Dan Sullivan—and he vetoed the Ordinance 64. The Assembly didn’t have the eight votes needed to override the mayor’s veto.

The LGBT community in Anchorage—sick of waiting for basic civil rights protections—decided to put an equal rights initiative on the ballot. One Anchorage needed to gather 5,871 signatures to qualify; they quickly gathered 13,600 signatures. Voters in Anchorage will say “yes” or “no” to Proposition 5 on April 3. The mayor and city council don’t have the power to veto or rescind a voter-approved initiative. So voters here approve Prop 5, Anchorage will finally—after 35 years—have an equal rights law that protects LGBT citizens.

You can read the rest of his excellent piece at his blog, “The Stranger.”

Remember, One Anchorage still needs your donation help. You know where those haters of equal rights and freedom will be getting their money: Jerry Prevo will be collecting cash with fire and brimstone from the pulpit while Minnery and his minions are already hard at it. (Did another “Dan,” of the “Fagan,” variety really claim, while Minnery was on his radio show, that any business or individual should be able to fire or evict gay and transgender folks under the guise of “religious freedom?”)

Please help One Anchorage today!

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10 Responses to “Open Thread: National Columnist Dan Savage Talks-Up One Anchorage”
  1. Zyxomma says:

    If you’d like a look at the ethical fashion presentation we put on this morning, check it out on our blog:

    http://thegreenshows.tumblr.com/

    I feel like an extremely proud parent!

  2. leenie17 says:

    Saw on the news tonight that the US Navy is naming a ship after Gabby Giffords. She was so excited when they showed her the drawing of what the ship would look like.

    Congratulations, Gabby! I’m sure the personnel who are assigned to that ship will be proud of her name.

  3. leenie17 says:

    Jerry Prevo is such an ugly, UGLY imitation of a human being.

    And I’m not talking about what he looks like on the outside since I wouldn’t recognize him if I fell over him.

  4. mike from iowa says:

    Local telly ran a scrawl on the screen this morning;Oglala Sioux Nation is suing five beer makers for 500 million bucks for chronic alcoholism on the reservation. This includes damages for child rehabilitation and other stuff. Not much for details yet. Be interesting to see how this is adjudicated.

  5. Polarbear says:

    Just after the Revolutionay War in Virginia and North Carolina it was illegal to preach the Baptist faith. The Baptist Church was the last refuge for poor immigrants who could not read, Nobody really minded if their congregations met, they just wanted them to be quiet in public… as in, please stop making our heads hurt. Virginia and North Carolina delegates signed our Constitution, but they did not change their local laws about Baptists. Eventually the persecuted (!) Baptists migrated and collected in Tennesee and Kentucky, who gave us Prevo and Mitch McConnell. Virginia and North Carolina were onto something, eh?

    • beth. says:

      PBS had a wonderful 2010 Frontline and American Experience series: “G-d in America – Inside the tumultuous 400-year history of the intersection of religion and public life in America.”

      I found it incredibly informative and highly recommend it. [...and, yes, parts of it scared the chit out of me, parts made my blood boil, and some parts did both.]

      It’s a 4-part series: “Timeline: Faith in America”, “American Scripture”, “G-d in the White House”, and “Sacred Spaces.” You can watch it all online, here: http://www.pbs.org/godinamerica/ beth.

      • Buffalogal says:

        Loved this series. I’m hoping they rerun it again. It’s one of those that I want to catch any time that it’s on. So much information. ( and I agree – some of it just shook me up, big time ) I second your recommendation !

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