Main | Monday, January 23, 2012

ALASKA: National Anti-Gay Group Joins Local LGBT Employment Battle

In April voters in Anchorage, Alaska will decide whether the city should adopt protections for LGBT residents. The ballot measure was forced by thousands of signatures on a petition drive backed by the local Catholic Church. Just joining the battle is the Alliance Defense Fund, who contends that businesses should have the right to deny employment to gay people.
The main problem as the Alliance Defense Fund sees it is that private business owners could be forced to hire or do business with people whose sexual orientation doesn't match their religious beliefs, said Holly Carmichael, a lawyer for the fund. "The ultimate concern with enacting something like that is that it infringes on religious freedoms," Carmichael said. "There's a huge constitutional concern here." Both Carmichael and Daniel, the Anchorage attorney, agree that religious organizations are protected by an exemption already in city law that says religious institutions and groups can give preferential treatment to people of the same religion if they are, for example, hiring someone who will promote religious principles. The Defense Fund analyzed the Anchorage initiative several weeks ago at the request of the Alaska Family Council, a conservative Christian organization that opposes the initiative. We just want to be really clear about the consequences of enacting it," said Jim Minnery, Alaska Family Council president.
The Anchorage City Assembly first approved an LGBT rights bill in 2009, but the measure was vetoed by the mayor.

Labels: , , , , ,

comments powered by Disqus