Main | Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Anchorage Passes Gay Rights Bill

After weeks of often ugly debate, the Anchorage, Alaska city council has voted to approve an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Anchorage Assembly members fought back tears Tuesday night before a decision three months in the making -- approval of a city-wide ordinance making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. The 7 to 4 decision came down Tuesday night after the assembly heard from more than 600 people who signed up to testify throughout the summer. The evening was emotional even before the decision, but this time it came from the other side of the testifying podium -- the assembly members themselves. After months and months of listening to public testimony on the controversial anti-discrimination ordinance, it was the assembly's turn to talk -- and they rivaled the emotion of the 600 speakers before them. "The rest of the people in this community deserve equal rights just like the rest of us," said assembly member Elvi Gray-Jackson. "We need to treat each other well in this world, and we don't, and I wish we did," assembly chair Debbie Ossiander said.
Anchorage's mayor has seven days to decide whether he will veto the bill.

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