The Anchorage, Alaska Assembly passed a
gay protections bill Tuesday evening, CBS affiliate KTVA reported.
The bill, approved in a 7 to 4 vote,
bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender
identity (transgender protections) in the areas of employment,
housing and credit. Lawmakers agreed to a compromise that exempts
religious organizations from the regulations.
Final passage came after months of
debate and numerous revisions. One draft turned the bill on its
head, allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation, while
protecting other classes.
Hundreds of opponents piled in to
testify against the bill in June, stalling lawmakers from voting on
the measure until after Republican Mayor Dan Sullivan was installed
on July 1. Sullivan's veto, however, is not a foregone conclusion.
The mayor said Wednesday he would
consider the measure.
“I understand that Anchorage
residents want to hear from their mayor regarding the Assembly
ordinance that passed last night,” Sullivan said in a statement.
“This issue is important to our
community and, as such, deserves careful consideration. It is my
responsibility not only to listen to constituents but to examine the
ordinance's language in depth.”
Sullivan said he was currently consumed
by a $9 million shortfall in the city's budget, but would make an
announcement soon. He has seven days to veto the measure.
Opponents say if Sullivan does not veto
the measure, they're prepared to force a vote on the issue.
“If the mayor should not veto this
and it should become law, we can take it to the people,” Dr. Jerry
Prevo of the Anchorage Baptist Temple told the station. “And get
it on the ballot and I think people will vote it down like they have
in the past.”
Foes say they object to the measure
based on religious grounds. Some testified that the ordinance will
lead to gay marriage, which they oppose.
of a similar gay protections ordinance passed by Kalamazoo, Michigan
city leaders have managed to force a public vote on the issue
after qualifying a petition.