13,515 signatures: Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative will be on the April 2012 municipal ballot
by Mel Green
This morning, the One Anchorage campaign will turn in 13,515 signatures — over twice the 5,871 needed — to put the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative on the Municipality of Anchorage’s April 3, 2012 ballot. If passed, the measure will provide the same legal protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people already provided in Anchorage on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, physical disability, and mental disability.
According to a press advisory from One Anchorage, former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles, Republican former State Senator State Senator Arliss Sturgulewski, and dozens of other supporters will meet at 11 AM in lobby of City Hall at 632 W 6th Avenue to submit the signatures. A press conference will follow.[caption id="attachment_4769" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Tim Pearson, of the One Anchorage Campaign filed the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative Application with Municipal Clerk Barbara Gruenstein (1 Sep 2011)"][/caption]
The One Anchorage campaign was launched on September 1 of this year, with Tim Pearson of One Anchorage submitting the application for the initiative with the municipal clerk. Two weeks later, on September 14, One Anchorage spokesperson Trevor Storrs told attendees at a community forum that the initiative language had been approved, and the campaign could begin to gather signatures. The campaign had 90 days — until December 12 — to get the minimum number of signatures necessary.
While the signatures One Anchorage is turning in today still need to be formally certified by Municipal Clerk, the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative is now certain to appear on the April 3, 2012 municipal ballot. Per the petition, the language on the ballot will read:
Shall the current Municipal Code sections providing legal protections against discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, physical disability, and mental disability be amended to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender identity?
The full application for the ballot initiative (in PDF format) includes the petition language and the changes that will be applied, if the ballot measure wins, to Title 5 of the Anchorage Municipal Code. The measure will add sexual orientation and transgender identity to the list of personal characteristics for which it is prohibited to discriminate in employment, housing, financial practices, education, and practices of the Municipality of Anchorage.[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Linda & Diane collecting signatures for the One Anchorage campaign at Side Street Espresso, 3 Dec 2011."][/caption]
The One Anchorage campaign follows on a similar 2009 equal rights ordinance, AO-64, which passed the Anchorage Assembly by a vote of 7 to 4 on August 11, 2009 after a protracted period of public testimony, only to be vetoed 6 days later by Mayor Dan Sullivan — the third time in Anchorage history that equal protection for at least some LGBTQ people in Anchorage was granted, then stripped away again. (The other occasions were in 1975-76 and 1992-93.)
To go along with today’s submission of signatures, One Anchorage has added more information to its website. One Anchorage also has a Facebook page — one of the best places to get current information on what the campaign is doing. And One Anchorage is now on Youtube, with an ad featuring former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles and former state senator Arliss Sturgulewski. Watch:
One Anchorage also has also opened a new campaign office in the Northern Lights Professional Building (207 E. Northern Lights, Suite 225; see map), and held an open house this past Saturday. Here are a few photos:[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="The Northern Lights Professional Building, where the new One Anchorage campaign office is located."][/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="Felix Rivera, Phyllis Rhodes, Johnathan Jones, and Trevor Storrs at the One Anchorage open house"][/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="State Senator Johnny Ellis (center) at the One Anchorage open house"][/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="Former state senator Arliss Sturgelewski and Johnathan Jones at the One Anchorage open house"][/caption]