Gay rights opponents in Anchorage claim expansion of an anti-discrimination law is not needed because LGBT people are already accepted and are influential.

If approved on April 3, Proposition 5 would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative. Religious organizations would be exempted from the law. The Anchorage Assembly approved a similar ordinance in 2009, but it was vetoed by Mayor Dan Sullivan.

Jim Minnery, spokesperson for the group Protect Anchorage – Vote No On Prop 5, and Trevor Storrs, spokesperson for the Yes on 5 campaign, debated the measure during a segment on NBC affiliate KTUU.

“I think it's important to remember that this issue is not about whether a gay or lesbian or transgender person can go into McDonalds or to walk into a bank and get a loan,” Minnery said. “Because in our view, and I think it's a good thing, gays and lesbians and transgendered are more accepted in society than any other time in history. It's absolutely astonishing to think that they're positioning themselves as a marginalized group when they have more power in relation to the size of their population and more influence and more affirmation than any other time in history. It's a little bit disingenuous in our view to say that we're being maligned and discriminated against in similar ways to the civil rights movement.”

Storrs disagreed, saying absolutely people are being discriminated against.

“Anchorage is a wonderful place, but we are not perfect. As a person who is part of this community, I personally have been discriminated against. I have several friends. I had a friend who sat in an interview and the guy looked directed at him, because he knew of his sexual orientation, and said to him, “We don't hire your kind,” and the interview was done,” he said.

(Watch the entire debate at