News from Patrick Flynn

A new day, a new version

This evening we’re back at Assembly chambers in a continuation of last week’s meeting.  We spent the first couple hours finishing up “regular” business items before continuing the public hearing on the equal rights ordinance.  One new twist is another draft version that makes some changes.

The new version makes several changes, to wit:

  • The term sexual orientation is changed to “heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality,” thereby omitting the transgender community.
  • Protections based on sexual orientation are restricted to housing, education and municipal governmental employment.  This omits private employers from regulation under this section.
  • The Equal Rights Commission is instructed to track complaints alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation, including “gender expression or gender identity.”  I infer this to be a data collection process that might inform future debates on this topic.

It is my impression that the purpose of the new draft is to address some of the concerns held by those who feel extending equal rights to gay and lesbian residents would impinge upon their rights to practice their faith.  As you might guess, the ink was barely dry before concerns were raised from all quarters.  From opponents, the concessions do not appear to be enough.  From proponents, the concessions are too much.  To both sides I commented that we’ll have further discussions.

We’ll continue until 11 pm tonight, then we’ll be back at 4 pm tomorrow (Wednesday) for another six hours.  Stay tuned and keep in touch.


Patrick Flynn

This contribution was made on Tuesday, 16. June 2009 at 19:01 and was published under the category Other. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. I strongly object to allowing people who do not live in Anchorage take up valuable discussion time on this local issue. They do not vote here, are not represented here, and should not be allowed to shape the destiny of those of us who do. This seems unprecedented to me. Is there a precedent at all? Whose decision was this? Did someone think this would calm the waters? I think it has done the opposite, given outsiders encouragement and a stronger hand in interfering. Is it too late to weed those folks out and strike them from the speaking list? Aren’t there rules about this? If not, we need some! I don’t object to dissent, but it should only be from those who live in Anchorage so we can have a civil, honest discussion among our own citizens.

    Comment: Robyn Lauster – 17. June 2009 @ 7:22 am

  2. The decision was Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander’s. Many of the Assembly members reportedly disagree with this decision, from comments she made at the June 9 meeting — my account of it (with a lot of my own opinion) is here. I agree with you.

    Earlier today a friend wrote an email to the Assembly objecting to the outsider’s being permitted to testify. She wrote back, & he shared her reply with me. The pertinent parts:

    The decisions on how best to conduct the hearings are made by the chair. I have taken into consideration the requests to limit testimony to residents of the municipality and have decided against that for several reasons. Many, many of the people who work and play in our town live in the Valley. Anchorage is a true regional city in the sense that its impact extends beyond its physical boundaries in many ways.

    And so therefore those people who work & play in Anchorage but do not pay Anchorage taxes or vote in Anchorage elections should have the right to influence our elected representatives to permit discrimination against Anchorage citizens?

    Try it this way:

    Many, many of the people who work and play in our country live in Canada or Mexico, or hold green cards from other nations. The United States is a true superpower in the sense that its impact extends beyond its physical boundaries in many ways.

    So let’s let them come & influence U.S. lawmakers’ decisions about how to govern U.S. citizens.

    It doesn’t make sense.

    Comment: Mel Green – 17. June 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  3. I feel that if someone owns a business or works in Anchorage but, does not live here that gives them the right to be heard on issues regarding the workplace but not housing. On the other hand when issues regarding civil liberties are being hashed out we all have a stake. So this may be a special case.
    What bothers me is that under the guise of protecting religious freedoms we may be undermining the separation of church and state. Would Hindus or Buddists feel their religious freedom is at stake in this ordinance? Would it matter a hill of beens to those now offended when others religious freedoms are trampled by the Christian majority? I have not seen evidence to support they would. This is one skirmish in a religious war against American Democracy that was started by those in the extreme right wing factions of the Christian community. Others are drawn in by fear, ignorance and bigotry. I often ask myself what would Jesus do? I wish those now in opposition would do the same.

    Comment: Paul – 17. June 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  4. There should be no back tracking on this issue. It MUST not be diluted by omitting any sexual orientation. It should apply to private businesses, including landlords.

    I don’t think people who don’t reside here should have the opportunity to speak on this issue. If they have a business in Anchorage and they don’t like laws, then they can take their business to the Valley. This seems to be an organized attempt to filibuster until Mayor Sullivan is sworn in.

    Gay Rights – A Father’s Testimony

    Comment: Emperor Bob – 17. June 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  5. The rewrite seems to be a waste of time. It takes away too much,(private employers) and makes more folks unhappy. Bigotry is wrong public or private.

    Comment: Joey Brockhouse – 17. June 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  6. I do live in Mat-su and work in Anchorage as does my wife this law affects all of us.

    Comment: Joey Brockhouse – 17. June 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  7. When it comes to civil rights we all have a voice, pro or con. When descrimination is allowed in one area because the majority can impose it’s will ( in the Valley for instance) can we in good conscience allow this to stand because we ( in Anchorage) don’t live there? This may be an attempt to fillibuster until Dan gets in but it is up to the Assembly to decide when they have heard enough, and frankly I think they have.
    Unless there is something more the citizenry can offer as counsel to the Assembly I move it is time to vote.

    Comment: Paul – 17. June 2009 @ 7:57 pm

  8. Bigotry is wrong. It is wrong if based in religion. It is wrong if it is based on personal belief. To express that belief in the privacy of one’s own home or church it only affect those who choose to be there. When expressed in public the bigot and their bigotry is thrust upon all who are in the area. We do not have the choice to avoid the bigotry because it is allowed in public. There is the constitution which forbids the establishment of a state religion this is what the ordinance you the assembly does do. Bigots based on a book the majority of which was written 2000 or more years ago will in 2009 be allowed to treat one set of citizens as a sub-class of human not deserving of the full protection of the constitution. Like my family members until the 50’s gay human beings will be legally treated by bigots as something less than human and our city assembly will be standing by the side of the bigots. I am lucky enough to have missed the signs that read, ” Indians and dogs not allowed” or “Indians and dogs Keep off the grass.” My father experienced the signs and the bigotry that went with it. Native children only a few years older than I am lived through it. I was born in 1962. I was spared the signs. I spent the first five years of grade school without being spoken to or when one brave soul took the time to speak to me they were whisked away by the teacher to be told the error or their ways and I continued to live in silence. Thank you for the memories that the bigoted folks in Anchorage dredged up from the haze of the past with their demonstrations.
    I wonder that if it is legal for bigots to discriminate against gays why would they complain to any entity of the city of Anchorage. Is there a way I don’t know about to count the incidents that are never reported? It seems to be a waste of paper. Do the right thing and pass one of the first two ordinances.

    Comment: Joey Brockhouse – 18. June 2009 @ 11:50 am

  9. I urge you not to dilute the measure- pass a STRONG statement to the municipality of anchorage, that this will not be tollerated. by allwoing exceptions, you are saying its ok, b/c you are small to discriminate.

    Comment: rachel – 18. June 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  10. why do transgenders deserve any less protection?
    some people are more equal than others?

    Comment: clark – 18. June 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  11. A sexual preference does not deserve the same protected status as religion or race. If it is your preference to live with and have sexual intimacy with a member of the same sex, that is your choice. It doesn’t give you the right to undermine marriage or force taxpayers to pay for your preference. People of faith have a right to disagree with you and a biblical mandate to oppose the acceptance of a sinful lifestyle. Homosexuals are in defiance of God’s Word. Their argument is with God, not people of faith. People of faith are only being obediant to a greater God. God loves all people but will never condone sin in any form. The world is taking sides and Christian bashing is rampant. Remember what Jesus said in John 15:18-19, (The World’s Hatred)
    “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you.

    Those that oppose God’s order of life will continue to “gnash their teeth” to get the government to give them special rights. Not only is this in direct conflict with God’s word, it violates the very essence of the U.S. Constitution. Homosexuals have the same equality as everyone else. What they’re after is special rights in order to get the government to punish outspoken Christians who are exhibiting their rights of freedom of speech and religion. You can’t implement special rights without denying the rights of others!

    Comment: Michael Johnson – 19. June 2009 @ 10:46 pm

  12. i don’t think i am undermining marrage one bit…
    i think others do a great job of that on their own!

    this issue isn’t about marrage at all…

    Comment: rachel – 24. June 2009 @ 8:38 am

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