An Anchorage, Alaska gay protections
bill is likely doomed as public sentiment turns sour, the Anchorage
Daily News reported.
Hundreds of opponents appeared to
testify against the bill at a Wednesday Anchorage Assembly hearing on
The bill would protect gay men and
lesbians from discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and
credit. An original draft included transgendered persons, but
lawmakers cut out the provision amid loud protest.
Opponents' demands have resulted in
three drafts of the ordinance, including one that turns the
protections on their head. That version would allow discrimination
based on sexual orientation, while protecting other classes.
“The added language in the third
version guts the intent and the integrity of the ordinance,” said
Jackie Buckley, spokeswoman for EqualityWorks, the group that lobbied
for the gay protections.
But time is ticking as a new,
unsympathetic mayor is about to be installed on July 1, Republican
Mayor-elect Dan Sullivan. Sullivan, however, gains veto power over
all ordinances seven days prior, on Wednesday.
As people continued to pile in to
testify against the bill – nearly 600 people have signed up and
only 300 have been heard – Anchorage Assembly Chairwoman Debbie
Ossiander said Friday she will continue to allow testimony. The
extension is likely to make it impossible to approve the bill before
Sullivan gains veto control. Acting Mayor Matt Claman, a Democrat,
supports the measure.
Opponents are rejecting the ordinance
mostly on religious grounds, saying being gay is immoral. Some say
the measure will lead to gay marriage in Alaska, which they oppose.