Tomorrow, Anchorage votes on LGBT non-discrimination

Tomorrow, voters in Anchorage, Alaska will be voting on Proposition 5, which One Anchorage explains:

simply provides to gay and transgender Alaskans the same legal protections that we already provide to other persons in Anchorage in employment, financial practices, housing, and restaurants, department stores and other businesses.

John wrote about the importance of ballot measure last month:

They’ve got a nasty religious right up there that’s been thwarting their efforts for 35 years. This is the year to stop the bigots.

As you can expect, the bigots on the other side have gotten really ugly.

Zack Ford at TP Equality had an update on the campaign last week, including the nasty ad run by the other side:

It cannot be overstated that if Anchorage’s proposed LGBT non-discrimination protections pass, it could have a huge impact on the future of LGBT rights in Alaska. Currently, polling shows the measure known as Proposition 5 winning with 50-41 support from voters. Nevertheless, the campaign is getting ugly and attracting national attention as a result.

The campaign against Prop 5 is being led by an Anchorage megachurch known as Anchorage Baptist Temple, which has donated 61 percent of the nearly $80,000 effort. Claiming that there’s no evidence of “widespread discrimination” and that “Anchorage is already a tolerant city,” these opponents are disproving their own point with a series of ads that portray transgender people in incredibly negative ways. One ad portrays trans people as “transvestites” who are somehow a threat to children while another shows a cross-dressing man using a women’s locker room to the detriment of a gym owner’s business.

I have to say, it was great to see this article from the Anchorage Daily News indicates that both sides have strong religious support:

As Tuesday’s vote nears, campaigns for and against Proposition 5 are playing out in the pews and from the pulpits of Anchorage’s churches.

Both sides of the proposed Anchorage Equal Rights Ordinance, which would add “sexual orientation or transgender identity” to the city’s anti-discrimination code, have mobilized church leaders and their congregations.

Organizers hope the faithful will become motivated voters when the ordinance goes up for a vote Tuesday.

Both sides say pastors, who have signed public letters, organized and attended rallies, written op-ed articles, spurred donations and preached about the ballot measure, represent a pivotal part of their campaigns.

“They are an instrumental part of all that we’re doing,” said Jim Minnery, the head of Protect Your Rights — Vote No on Prop. 5, the main opposition group.

Same goes for One Anchorage, the group leading the campaign in favor of Proposition 5, said spokesman Trevor Storrs.

A group calling itself Christians for Equality has garnered support from more than 45 leaders of liberal denominations, including Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal and Quaker groups.

Great work by One Anchorage. So often, we’ve seen articles about the dominance of anti-gay religious types in these battles. Not now.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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