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Anchorage officials nix proposed ballot language in effort to repeal LGBT ordinance

Anchorage officials nix proposed ballot language in effort to repeal LGBT ordinance
Frank Kovalchek
Anchorage, Alaska Frank Kovalchek, via Wikimedia

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Opponents of Anchorage’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender non-discrimination law may need to get more specific in their ballot language seeking repeal.

City attorneys approved the referendum effort while nixing language that asked whether Anchorage Ordinance 96 shall remain law, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

City attorney Bill Falsey wrote in a Friday memo that the language didn’t accurately describe what the law does.

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Falsey was joined by other attorneys in suggesting alternative language saying the law prohibits “discrimination within the municipality on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity in the sale, rental or use (of) real property, financing, employment, places of public accommodations, educational institutions, and practices of the municipality; to codify certain religious and other exemptions; and to expand the lawyer’s role in fact-finding conferences before the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission.”

City Clerk Barbara Jones says petitioners have to sign off on the new language in order to begin collecting signatures.

Conservative talk show host Bernadette Wilson is listed as the primary sponsor in the petition application. She did not respond to a request for comment.

Assemblywoman Amy Demboski said the repeal language has been “reworded in such a fashion to manipulate the electorate.”

She said this issue is blatantly being treated differently from similar wording that had been approved for a referendum rewriting city labor law. Falsey says he was not the attorney when the labor issue went to ballot.

Assemblyman Ernie Hall chairs the ethics and elections committee, and says lawyers are defending against legal challenges that may be brought in the future.

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