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Alaska

Ballot measure to protect LGBT people in Anchorage appears to have failed

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Voters in Anchorage on Tuesday rejected a proposed ordinance that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative.

With 90 percent of the precincts reporting, 58 percent of voters had voted against the measure known as Proposition 5, which would have amended Anchorage’s Title 5 non-discrimination code.

According to municipal clerk Barbara Gruenstein, final results may be days away.

City elections officials noted that with an unexpectedly high turnout, some polling places reported running out of ballots, and that there were a large number of votes that might be on “questioned” ballots, which will be required to be counted by hand.

Opponents of Proposition 5 had sent out an alert email and Facebook message Tuesday stating — incorrectly — that residents could register and vote on election day, when in fact Anchorage voter laws require residents to register to vote at least 30 days prior to an election.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much of an effect that information had on the turnout.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that Proposition 5 was the third attempt by LGBT advocates to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ people since the city’s charter took effect in 1975, but Tuesday was the first time the issue had been voted on in a municipal election.

The effort to pass it started in December 2011 when the One Anchorage campaign collected the signatures of 13,515 registered voters to place the initiative on the ballot.

The One Anchorage campaign argued that legal protections for LGBTQ residents were overdue and instances of discrimination demonstrated a need for the law.

Opponents, campaigning as Vote No On Prop. 5, complained that the law was vague and poorly written and would impinge on the religious freedom of residents opposed to homosexuality. The proposition included an exemption from the law for churches and religious organizations.

The Vote No On 5 group had launched a controversial campaign against the ballot measure, using cartoon scenarios portraying likely scenarios it claimed would occur if the law passed.

Alaska is one of 14 states with no protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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6 more reader comments:

  1. sucks

    Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 10:25am
  2. Very unfortunate.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 10:34am
  3. What can be said of Alaska? It is no place I have every had the desire to visit. Crazy people move there to get away from civilization.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 10:43am
  4. Actually, having lived in Anchorage for nearly 20 years, I can say that it’s a pretty nice place. It felt bad to lose our election last night. There was potential voting irregularities though and it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. One of the very wonderful things about this whole experience has been the we were able to bring to the general public’s attention a normalized, human face to what it means to be gay or transgender. This was huge.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 10:57am
  5. Ugly Hateful Alaskan’s!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 11:44am
  6. It’s true that there were some absolutely awful things that happened in this campaign but so many supportive and wonderful people as well. It brought some much needed exposure to the situation faced by my friends, and especially those of the trans community. To have a voice is wonderful and many hearts were changed.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 1:21pm