The more things don’t change, the more some people wish otherwise.
As you might know, Anchorage Assembly members Bill Evans and Pat Flynn have joined forces to introduce the ultimate “compromise” ordinance that adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Municipality non-discrimination code. Click HERE to review the actual ordinance. In terms of who wins and who loses on this one, let’s just say that Pat Flynn is a better negotiator than Bill Evans.
Religious exemptions are WEAK and Anchorage residents should tell Assembly members just that when this ordinance will be discussed at the Loussac Library Assembly Chambers this Tuesday, September 15th at 5pm. Be polite and patient. From what I can gather from the Agenda, it looks like the ordinance won’t be discussed until the end of the meeting.
To get a real short reminder of what this is about, click HERE, HERE and HERE to see the 30 second TV ads we produced and ran back in 2012 opposing Prop 5. These ads and common sense by Anchorage voters from both sides of the political spectrum contributed to 58% of the vote soundly defeating an unnecessary, intrusive and heavy-handed Governmental mandate. As most people new back then, and still know today, Anchorage is already a tolerant place to live.
This new ordinance legally invites men into public restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms that are being used by women and girls because they happen to “identify” as female. This ordinance provides no protections to any wedding vendor for not being able to participate in a same-sex ceremony. Remember, every wedding vendor who has been sued and attacked by these kinds of ordinances, happily served gay and lesbian customers. It was the marriage ceremony that they could not participate in. This ordinance would not protect an adoption agency or individual attorney that is faith-based and cannot, in good conscience, place a child in a home that purposefully denies that child a mom or a dad. This ordinance says faith-based schools, churches and other “bona-fide” religious organizations’ staff would not be exempt from the new law unless they were “ministerial” enough. Who in the world is going to make that determination? The Government?
Everywhere these laws have passed, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are at risk. The government should safeguard constitutional freedoms. Not undermine them.
The State of Washington has had this kind of law on their books for eight (8) years. Seventy-six (76) cases have been filed claiming discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or sexual identity. Guess what happened? The Equal Rights Commission found probable cause in NOT ONE CASE. Every single claim was tossed because the claims were essentially LGBTQIA individuals who were uncomfortable with people being uncomfortable with them or not completely affirming of their lifestyle. We live in a pluralistic society. People have the right to be uncomfortable and you don’t pass laws to make it otherwise.
In Arizona, a study has shown that in four cities with these kind of laws in place, EVERY CLAIM has been dismissed. In Ohio, 17 cities and the same result. Not one case of discrimination has ever been proven. Guess who did suffer in all these cases ? The people who had to spend hard-earned money to defend themselves.
This ordinance is a solution in search of a problem we do not have. It limits the freedom to live in a diverse, robust and tolerant community. Freedom from Government coercion is good for the economy, the business community and the people of Anchorage. Rational thinking people on both sides of the political spectrum know this and that’s why Prop 5 was so handily defeated despite the pro-Prop 5 side spending three times as much money.
Although because elections have consequences, the Evans/Flynn ordinance is likely to pass and be signed by an eager Mayor Berkowitz who can’t wait to get his hands on it. We’re not called to be successful though. We’re called to be faithful and that means voicing our concerns once again at the Anchorage Assembly Chambers in the Loussac Library this Tuesday, September 15th at 5:00pm.