Fairview Community Council passes resolution for equal rights in Anchorage
Fairview Community Council has passed a resolution calling for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender in the Municipality of Anchorage’s equal rights code, Title 5. The resolution passed at the community council’s January 12 meeting by a vote of 13 to 1. The resolution comes as the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative (One Anchorage) is set to be voted upon in the April 3 municipal election.
Fairview Community Council Resolution No. 2010-12, “A Resolution supporting equal rights in Anchorage,” was first introduced in the council by S.J. Klein on November 11, 2010, at least partly in response to the previous year’s debate over the Anchorage equal rights ordinance AO-64, which also involved adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Title 5. AO-64 had passed the Anchorage Assembly on August 11, 2009 by a vote of 7–4, only to be vetoed 6 days later by Mayor Dan Sullivan.
Three weeks after the resolution’s introduction, it was discussed on December 2, 2010 at a meeting of the Fairview council’s executive committee. At that time it was decided to defer referral of the resolution back to the full council until the following month in order to gather information on the incidence of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the Municipality. Then, in January, data collection for the Anchorage LGBT Discrimination Survey began, running through March 2011. The preliminary report of the survey was released in November 2011. (The final report is forthcoming.)
Nearly a year after the Fairview resolution was proposed, the One Anchorage campaign for an Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative was launched last September 1, and on December 14, 2011 the initiative was certified for the April 3, 2012 Anchorage municipal ballot. It was time to take up the resolution again.
Fairview Community Council is one of 39 community councils in the Municipality of Anchorage established by Article VIII of the Anchorage Municipal Charter to “afford citizens an opportunity for maximum community involvement and self-determination.” Fairview is one of Anchorage’s oldest neighborhoods, located in northwest Anchorage immediately east of downtown with a population of around 8,000 residents. It’s a racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood, depicting itself on the Fairview Community Council home page as “a rich, vibrant and diverse Neighborhood, where ‘Everyone Knows Your Name.’”
“Fairview recognizes that diversity is our greatest strength,” Fairview Community Council president Michael Howard told Bent Alaska. “Fairview recognizes that diversity is our greatest strength. Our actions and behavior as a community reflect our real belief in the power of an inclusive community. Just look at the great things going on in the neighborhood!”
Fairview Community Council’s commitment to community diversity and acceptance got an impromptu test last June when Ogopogo, one of several bands scheduled to perform at “The Sound of Fairview” Block Party on June 11, abruptly pulled out of the event. As reported by Brendan Joel Kelley, at that time editor of the Anchorage Press,
[band member] Felix Rouse told Fairview Community Council Vice President Christopher Constant Tuesday his band wouldn’t be playing because of the “fag shit” at the block party. The Friday Night Divas — gay bar Mad Myrna’s resident drag performers — will be performing at the block party, which Rouse says he wasn’t aware of when the band agreed to play at the community celebration.
Fairview Community Council merely took Rouse’s band off its posters and went ahead with what Bent Alaska described as
an event that will be fun and welcoming for all of Fairview’s residents — and, for that matter, anyone else who wants to stop in for a few hours for family and kids’ activities, parkour, beer garden, yummy food vendors (the food, not the vendors!), an ice cream truck-off, and great music and entertainment.
A week later, Kelley reported in the Anchorage Press:[caption id="attachment_6745" align="alignleft" width="286" caption=""Sounds of Fairview" Block Party, 11 June 2011. Daphne DoAll LaChores of the Friday Night Divas (blonde hair and dress at left) and Mayor Dan Sullivan (in sunglasses) can be seen in the background. Click on photo for larger copy. Photo © Copyright 2011 Wolf Studios. Used with permission."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_6752" align="alignright" width="269" caption="Fairview Community Council Resolution No. 2010-12, "A Resolution supporting equal rights in Anchorage." Click through to read."][/caption]
Rouse explained then, and elaborated after the [earlier] story was printed, that his issue was not gays, or even drag queens, but the exposure of small children to those “alternative lifestyles.” Well, turns out a bunch of kids — with their parents’ permission, if not encouragement — don’t mind drag queens at all.
According to Fairview Community Council Vice President Christopher Constant, over a thousand people — many not residents of Fairview, but pro-diversity Anchorage-ites who’d read about the controversy — came throughout the day to the cordoned off block of Nelchina Street between 13th and 14th Avenues. Even Mayor Dan Sullivan swapped out an appointment on his schedule to stroll through, checking out booths for organizations like the Renewable Energy Alaska Project and the Alaska Teen Media Institute.
It was completely in character, then, for Fairview Community Council to react to the One Anchorage campaign by taking up Resolution No. 2010-12 for another look — and this time, action. And so, at the council’s regular monthly meeting on January 12, the resolution passed by an overwhelming majority. Fairview is the first community council to have passed such a resolution.
As passed, the language of Resolution No. 2010-12 is identical to what was originally proposed in November 2010. It differs in its terminology from the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative, calling for the inclusion in Anchorage’s Title 5 of sexual orientation and gender identity, whereas the initiative uses the terms sexual orientation and transgender identity. The Fairview resolution also does not mention by name either One Anchorage or the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative, and so cannot be precisely called an “endorsement” of the One Anchorage campaign.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that Fairview Community Council stands in support of the initiative. The council’s president, Michael Howard, told Bent Alaska:
Again, our actions as a community reflect the collective values we hold. This resolution is simply one example of our true commitment to a diverse and inclusive community. Fairview is rising, and we’re only accomplishing what we are because we have harnessed the collective talents and energies of the entire community.
As for the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative, the question to appear on the
April 3 Anchorage municipal 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 already included in Title 5 on the basis which it is prohibited to discriminate in employment, housing, financial practices, education, and practices of the Municipality of Anchorage.
Here is the text of the resolution as passed by a vote of 13 to 1 in the Fairview Community Council on January 12, 2012:
Fairview Community Council
Resolution No. 2010-12
A Resolution supporting equal rights in Anchorage
Whereas, all persons who live and work in Anchorage need equal rights without regard to
age, race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity; and
Whereas, no one should be refused service in a public establishment because of their
perceived sexual orientation or gender identity; and
Whereas, no one should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired from their job or
evicted from an apartment for reasons that have nothing to do with their work
performance or their quality as tenants; and
Whereas, all hard-working people in our city, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people, should have the chance to earn a living and to provide for their
Whereas, both the United States and the Alaska Constitutions promise equal protection
under the law for all citizens.
Therefore, Be It Resolved the Fairview Community Council supports the inclusion of
sexual orientation and gender identity in the nondiscrimination policies of the Anchorage
Passed this 12th day of January, 2012, by a vote of 13 yeas and 1 nay as attested to by the following:
Michael Howard, President
Fairview Community Council