Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) has announced he supports the freedom to marry for same-sex couples just hours after similar announcements from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
Sen. Begich issued this statement on his support for marriage:
“I believe that same sex couples should be able to marry and should have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any other married couple. Government should keep out of individuals’ personal lives—if someone wants to marry someone they love, they should be able to. Alaskans are fed up with government intrusion into our private lives, our daily business, and in the way we manage our resources and economy.”
With 90 percent of precincts reporting, it appears that 58 percent of Anchorage voters rejected Proposition Five a measure that would have ensured protections for LGBT people.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, the “equal rights ordinance that was far and away the most controversial and emotional component of this spring’s election.”
Apparently, many of the people who voted no on the measure were told that they could register on the same day, which is incorrect (you need to register 30 days prior), so many of those votes could get invalidated. Stay tuned for a final vote tally.
The One Anchorage Initiative simply provides to gay and transgender Alaskans the same legal protections that are already provided to other persons in Anchorage in employment, financial practices, housing, and restaurants, department stores and other businesses.
For over 30 years Anchorage Municipal Code, Title 5, Equal Rights, has ensured equality for Alaskans who live, work and shop in Anchorage. It provides legal protections on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, or physical or mental disability.
Today, most – but not all – hardworking Alaskans are protected from being unfairly fired. For example, no one can be fired from a job solely because they are married or single. It is illegal to refuse to interview a job applicant because the business owner doesn’t like Christians, Jews or Muslims. You can’t be denied service in a restaurant because you’re African-American, Asian, from South America or Alaska Native. You can’t be turned down for a credit card or bank loan because you’re sight or hearing impaired.
However, these legal protections that most of us rely on everyday do NOT protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender workers. Right now in Anchorage NO STATE OR LOCAL LAWS OF ANY KIND protect people from being unfairly fired or refused an interview because of being gay, transgender or straight.
In Anchorage, a woman can be fired solely because her employer believes she is a lesbian – for reasons having nothing to do with her job performance.
One Anchorage believes – as did the founders of the Municipality of Anchorage – that fair and equal treatment for ALL by our city’s laws is the best policy.