Out Alaska Lawmakers Propose LGBTQ Discrimination Protections

Out Alaska Lawmakers Propose LGBTQ Discrimination Protections

In response to reports that Alaska’s Attorney General quietly rolled back LGBTQ protections last summer, the state’s first-ever out, queer lawmakers sponsored a bill in the Alaska House to enshrine anti-discrimination protections in law.

More from Alaska Public Media:

Representative Jennie Armstrong, a West Anchorage Democrat who filed the bill, said it’s both a human rights issue and an economic one, for a state that is facing a deep labor shortage as people leave for opportunities Outside.

Armstrong’s bill is short. It primarily updates the Commission for Human Rights’ definition of “sex,” a protected class in Alaska, to include “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.”

“I filed this legislation because I want it to pass,” Armstrong said. “I’m not trying to make a statement. I’m not trying to do anything proforma, I want to approach this in a way that gives it the best shot at passing.”

Fifteen House members — all Democrats and Independents — co-sponsored the bill.

An Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica investigation published last week revealed Attorney General Treg Taylor quietly ordered the state Commission for Human Rights to remove sexual orientation and gender identity from the state’s discrimination protections in mid-2022.

An investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found the decision had been requested by a conservative Christian group.