News from Patrick Flynn

…and justice for all

At the next Assembly meeting (May 12) an ordinance will be introduced that would bar discrimination based upon sexual orientation or veteran’s status.  This change, which is consistent with Anchorage’s long history of social justice, would prevent:

“discrimination in the sale or rental of real property, financing practices, employment practices, public accommodations, educational institutions, and practices of the municipality, based upon…sexual orientation or veteran’s status.”

This would simply add to the existing list of protected classes, including “race, religion, age, sex, color, national origin, marital status, or physical disability,” so I therefore consider it quite reasonable.  There are those who may ask as to the timing of this proposal, as in whether political considerations played a role.  To me the answer, quite simply, is absolutely yes.

I have friends with whom I expect to disagree on at least part of this issue.  I expect their reasons to be strongly and honorably held, and I look forward to a vigorous discussion on the matter.  That said, I also believe that conducting this conversation during the recently concluded mayoral election would have injected a level of emotion precluding the possibility of a reasoned debate.  In fact, I even considered introducing a similar ordinance in mid-November but was dissuaded by proponents who preferred to wait.  So I’m happy to argue issues on their merits, and even risk defeat at the polls (should I choose to run for office in the future), but feel it best to address issues on their merits, not electoral politics.

As an aside, last year I read the biography of Dave Rose, “Saving for the Future,” and noted his efforts to address this matter in the early days of the Municipality of Anchorage (shortly after city & borough unification).  I happen to occupy the precise Assembly seat he once held and am honored to try completing that task.

With that, I welcome the discussion (the public hearing will occur on June 9) and encourage participation in my latest on-line poll.



This contribution was made on Sunday, 10. May 2009 at 18:00 and was published under the category Other. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. Patrick……..I so appreciate your blog. It is great to hear your thoughts on
    issues and find out what is happening with the Assembly. Thank you for taking
    time to do this. Karen

    Comment: Karen – 10. May 2009 @ 6:16 pm

  2. Patrick — Great post as always. I really appreciate your blog. I wish more elected officials would follow the example set by you.

    On a separate note, I too read Rose’s book and feel that it is an absolute must read for anyone interested in Alaska politics — past, present or future. He was one of those rare forward-thinking individuals for whom we should all be thankful or, at the very least, aware.

    Keep up the great work.

    – Chris Schutte –

    Comment: Christopher M. Schutte – 11. May 2009 @ 7:40 am

  3. Patrick-

    Prohibiting discrimination based on veterans status… Hmmm….

    If you turn it upside down, would it eliminate veteran preference? For example, my veteran status is “not a veteran”. I hope the ordinance is written so we can still see some perks given to the people who chose to serve our country.


    Comment: Peggy – 11. May 2009 @ 12:40 pm

  4. Patrick-

    Thank you for being a part of the effort to bring justice for all. Your poignant remark on having the same seat as Dave Rose gives a nod to those who went before you and shared your belief in equality.

    Comment: Anne Marie Moylan – 12. May 2009 @ 6:40 am

  5. Applause, wild and enthusiastic applause. Here’s to the prospect of an intelligent and vigorous debate — with hope it doesn’t devolve into the posturing of opposing sides. In this I can write for my husband as well — We want to live in a city where no one is marginalized. I’m proud to have supported you.

    Comment: Pam Kelley – 12. May 2009 @ 8:32 am

  6. As someone who has experienced discrimination for being a lesbian, & has witnessed discrimination against others for sexual orientation or their status as transsexual or transgender persons, I can only say: this is long overdue. Thanks for stepping up with this important ordinance.

    Comment: Mel Green – 12. May 2009 @ 8:49 am

  7. Thank you Assemblyman Flynn,
    I applaud you for bringing this forward. It took courage. Someday we will look back on this issue and it will seem bizarre that it was questioned, like we now do for granting voting rights to women, or ending segregation. Thank you – A constituent from South Addition

    Comment: Lisa Jamieson – 12. May 2009 @ 5:15 pm

  8. I see the same problem Peggy mentions. My first thought was, “I didn’t know there was discrimination against veterans.” And then I wondered, cynic that I am, whether Veterans weren’t added in to attempt to make the ordinance seem more palatable. You know, a vote against this is a vote against veterans. But I then I began thinking how this would invalidate veteran preferences for jobs, for loans, for special license plates, for discounts at theaters, etc.

    And this town has so many veterans and they are so organized that they will absolutely stop this ordinance as is.

    That’s my guess. So explain why I’m misinterpreting this.

    Comment: Steve – 12. May 2009 @ 11:03 pm

  9. We already have anti-discrimination clauses for many classes of people and they do not prevent veterans from gaining preference in many areas. This one would be no difference. Preventing discrimination is not the same as not allowing privileges. I’m sure there are many in the opposition though who will try and paint it that way. Kudos to Patrick Flynn for having the courage and integrity to stand up for the rights of all people. Thank you.

    Comment: Cynthia L. Lyons – 13. May 2009 @ 6:24 am

  10. Cynthia, this is worded as “based upon…sexual orientation or veteran’s status.” So, as I read it, if someone’s veteran’s status is “not a veteran” she could argue that veteran’s preference for a job discriminated against her based on ‘veteran’s status.”

    If it said you could not discriminate against someone because he or she had been a veteran, that would fit you explanation.

    Comment: Steve – 13. May 2009 @ 8:10 am

  11. I believe in respecting and sustaining all people at all times as well. I am saddened for those who receive harrassment in any form and for any reason. It is unacceptable. My question, is one of consequences. I have read of many consequences to public life that comes from an official policy on sexual orientation discrimination (for example: These will affect many organizations in our community and their ability legally to engage in public service to many others in need, or to access community facilities (if that will not agree to adhere to the revised discrimination code). Is there another alternative that would accomplish both tasks of preventing harrassment yet allowing organizations to serve and operate in public life without inherent infringment.

    Comment: Kenny Petersen – 13. May 2009 @ 8:15 am

  12. Kenny – religious organizations are exempt from the Anchorage ordinance, so the government is not “infringing” on their right to discriminate against us.

    Patrick, and other supporters on the Assembly – thank you!

    Comment: E. Ross – 13. May 2009 @ 12:04 pm

  13. Pat,

    I am a former U.S. Navy Sailor. I served one tour in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, and two tours in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I have since separated from the service and am now pursuing my degree at UAA.
    Let it be known outright that I do not have a problem with the Gay community seeking to gain equal rights. However, as a Veteran I am appalled that the ordinance would include Veteran Status in its writing. I do not view myself as a scapegoat, and would expect the rest of the Anchorage community to not view me as one either. This ordinance needs to be re-written with “veterans status” taken out of its writing. As it stands it is a “damned if they do damned it they don’t” for anyone voting against it. You state you want to make Anchorage a better community, lets start by taking the low-blow political shots out of our community. IF the discrimination is as strong as it is perceived to be, based on the mere fact that this ordinance has been introduced, then it should stand on its on two feet WITHOUT having Veterans attached.

    Thank You.

    Steven DeLoose

    Comment: Steven DeLoose – 13. May 2009 @ 9:14 pm

  14. Thank you, Mr. Flynn, for taking this stand and moving this basic civil rights issue forward. Eliminating any barriers to full and equal rights for all is a front and center issue deserving of our energy immediately and consistently until the goal is fully realized. I join you in this work and appreciate your leadership.

    Comment: Ann McKay Bryson – 13. May 2009 @ 10:48 pm

  15. I am so glad we have people like you in the Anchorage assembly. My partner and I were denied housing last month because of our sexual orientation. We are both graduate students at UAA and cannot afford to live on campus. A cheap property turned up, but the owner stated that they did not want two men in a relationship living together, as they found it offensive. This was after conduction background checks, drafting leases and taking a deposit. It wasn’t until the day of signing when our status was questioned. Needless to say, we are 750 dollars short from loosing our deposit.

    I hope to this day that they were forced to take someone with horrible credit score who is more of a risk than we are. They could have had a couple with an average score of 720 on research grant income…. (That’s pretty steady income for those who aren’t in the know)

    Comment: Sean – 14. May 2009 @ 12:47 am

  16. when will white males have the same protection under the law and civil rights protections as gays now enjoy? white males can not have white male only parades or celebrate their heritage and culture as white men, but gays can and do.when was the last all white male heritage and culture parade? my point exactly.

    Comment: lance black – 14. May 2009 @ 6:19 am

  17. This is complete and utter nonsense.
    The dishonesty here is an affront to our armed services.
    If you desire to have a gay protection put in place then please, be a man, butch up, and present it for what it is.
    To present this gay issue hiding behind the veterans is cowardly!
    This only serves to guilt people into voting for the gay propisition because they dont want to deny the vets.
    It is this kind of dishonest government trickery that creates the mistrust and loathing of government that is so evident today.
    Seperate the proposals, one for the protection of Gays and social devients, and another for the heroic veterans.
    Let each stand on their merit so the will of the people is truely represented.
    Too bad you democrats only desire to mold society rather than allowing the will of the people to be the norm, that would be democracy.

    Comment: Harvey LaFever – 14. May 2009 @ 9:33 am

  18. To Patrick Flynn and Assembly members,

    First of all, I congratulate you for taking this issue on to the floor of the Anchorage Assembly.

    I am a resident of Alaska. I am gay and 25 years old. I have lived here my whole life. I live in Wasilla currently and a homeowner. I am speaking on behalf my gay-lesbian friends in Anchorage. I read the proposed ordinance bill and I think this should be ALREADY a ordinance and it should be LAW Statewide. The main “change” in the ordinance are adding the two words “sexual-orientation” and “veterans.” The two words “sexual-orientation” and “veterans” would be protected under ANY circumstance in EQUALITY through Anchorage.

    For the opponents on adding “veterans” along with an EQUALITY Ordinance, i just say to them, NOW the veterans will be protected also and why wouldn’t they want that protection anyways? I mean I have gay friends that are active in the military also, so that means they would be protected twice, right? or would they be protected at all? tell the opponents that GAY people don’t want ‘special rights’ we want ‘equal rights’ and that is it. We are very simple people.

    Comment: Dustin – 14. May 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  19. As a volunteer for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Anchorage, I receive calls on a regular basis from individuals who believe they have been discriminated against because of their sexual identity. They call me for referral for legal assistance. While I can give them the name of a gay-friendly lawyer, I also must tell them that here in wonderful Anchorage, Alaska, they are NOT protected from discrimination. Having tasted the bitterness of discrimination here in Anchorage already, they are not likely to testify at a public hearing and possibly set themselves up for further difficulties with employment and housing. I applaud those that do have the courage to appear before the Assembly.

    Many, many thanks to you and other members of the Anchorage Assembly who are willing to take a stand to see our fine city take its place as a truly Number One American City.

    Comment: Phyllis – 15. May 2009 @ 11:34 am

  20. It is time to include both! I am a landlord and I never considered that a landlord wouldn’t lease a place to someone based on their sexual orientation or their veteran status. Shame on those who do!
    Thank you for the courage moving forward with this issue. I hope your fellow Assembly Members will stand united with you!

    Comment: Jillanne – 25. May 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  21. I leased a condo to a recently separated military person who remained in the reserves. He was called back into the military mid way through his lease. I released him from his lease even though it meant a loss and inconvenience to me. Were I a more “discriminating” person, I would not have leased to him in the first place.

    In this era of worldwide need for the military, and considering the huge military presence in Anchorage, thank you for including veterans in the ordinance.

    Comment: hf – 26. May 2009 @ 9:41 am

  22. Dear Assemblyman Flynn,

    I’m afraid that I must break the chorus of support which you have received in the comments to this point. Were this proposal limited to the provision of public services, in which members of the gay/lesbian community have a stake as citizens, it would have been entirely appropriate. As a requirement placed upon private individuals in conducting their businesses and disposing of their property, however, it is tyrannical.

    We have anti-discrimination laws to protect individuals against prejudice pertaining to conditions over which they have no control, such as sex and race. These arbitrary factors cannot justly be included in considerations for hiring, sales, or anything else because they indicate a “pre-judgement”; the individual in question is not being evaluated as an individual, but as a member of a group in which they did not seek membership. It is alien to the spirit of these laws to extend them to categories of choice. Every private citizen has the right to do, or not to do, business with other citizens whose actions they find objectionable. What you call discrimination against homosexuals and veterans, I call American freedom of association.

    I recognize that there are those who will argue that homosexuality is not a choice. I would respectfully ask them then, why the homosexual community lobbied so hard for the phrase “lifestyle choice”? One thinks of the French poet Paul Verlaine, who, while engaged to marry his long-time fiancee, was convinced by his friend Arthur Rimbaud to leave her and enter into a homosexual relationship with him while travelling Europe. Rimbaud conceived of his sexual orientation as a deliberate protest against the values of “bourgeois” society, and endeavoured to win converts much as one does to a political movement. In the PC terminology, in the lives of men like Verlaine, and in the rhetoric which one hears, particularly from gay men, about “turning” heterosexuals, it becomes perfectly clear that, at least for a very large share of homosexuals, we are confronted from the public policy standpoint with practitioners of a chosen behaviour.

    In short, I believe our government has crossed a line when it arrogates to itself the right to determine how citizens are allowed to conduct their private affairs and dispose of their personal property, when they do so solely on the basis of what they think of the actions of others. Please do not drag us across this Rubicon.

    Comment: Race Brunton – 28. May 2009 @ 8:40 am

  23. Assemblyman Flynn:

    Even though my sexual behavior would not lump me in with this select group of people you wish to grant special rights and protections, I also have been discriminated against. I’ve never met a single person who has NOT been discriminated against at some point. Regardless of how we have sex or dress ourselves, everyone already has the same and equal right to be discriiminated against based on their choice of behavior. Why should we single out one behavior over another?

    I find it oppressive and evil for a small group of people desiring to impose their viewpoint on everyone, to use the force of goverment to make it illegal for anyone to use their own good judgment in making a choice, to remove our freedom to observe or make a distinction, or to discriminate good from bad. You are attempting to deny some the right to express their opinions if it differs from yours, to deny and forbid our God-given conscience. This is social INjustice.

    Comment: Nicole Kirk – 28. May 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  24. Mr. Flynn,

    Should you choose to support this ordinance, I will direct every future dollar I spend on political and charitible efforts…to see that you are not re-elected.

    Your lack of good judgement in this matter is most revealing.



    Comment: Phillip Douglas – 08. June 2009 @ 5:02 pm

  25. Well why not some more laws. I did not realize how many kinds of and how many laws there are until recently. Seems the government and a lot of people do not think adults can handle their own affairs. No, government must do it. Kinda depresses me.

    Comment: Gerald Erikson – 26. May 2011 @ 1:44 am

  26. […] in the Municipality of Anchorage would be introduced at tonight’s Anchorage Assembly meeting. Per Mr. Flynn’s blog: This change, which is consistent with Anchorage’s long history of social justice, would […]

    Pingback: Against Discrimination in Anchorage | Bent Alaska – 13. July 2011 @ 9:45 am

  27. […] Patrick Flynn blogged his reasons for supporting the measure and took a poll on the issue (still open in the right hand […]

    Pingback: News Roundup on the Non-Discrimination Ordinance | Bent Alaska – 27. May 2012 @ 12:46 pm

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