Father Tony

Why Did Anchorage OK a Gay Rights Ordinance?

Filed By Father Tony | August 14, 2009 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: gay visibility

As reported in the Anchorage Daily News:

By a 7-4 vote, the Anchorage Assembly Tuesday approved a compromise ordinance that bans discrimination in Anchorage on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The vote capped two months of public meetings on a controversial issue that has engaged the community for a generation. The Assembly itself debated for most of an hour Tuesday, displaying emotion and passion not often seen in the chambers.

You have to read far into the report to understand the real story.

The real story doesn't have much to do with unisex bathrooms or trans folks stampeding Christian toilets or even Sarah Palin.

At least two of the winning votes were cast by Assemblymen/women who voted in honor of specific gay people who they felt deserved the rights provided by the ordinance. One was the childhood mailman of one of an Assemblyman who had moved away from Anchorage in search of a more tolerant and supportive community. One voting member of the Assembly mentioned being moved by the demonstrations of gay people in support of the ordinance.

The real story here is visibility. If gay Alaskans had not turned out to support the ordinance and if that mailman had remained closeted and had silently moved away, the vote might very well have been a 5-6 loss rather than a 7-4 victory.

A good reminder for all of us whether we are considering a march on Washington or just a walk down the street to our local town hall.

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twinkie1cat | August 15, 2009 1:24 AM

When gay rights become personal they tend to pass. People don't want to face their neighbor, cousin, or friend and say, "I voted against equal rights for you". As long as the conservatives can keep the community "other" or "them", straw men if you will, they can always win.

Here's the opposite:
When Newt Gingrich was running for the election in which he became Speaker of the House, of course he stood up for "family values" and against gay rights,(all while committing adultery). In order to do so he had to diss his gay sister. His campaign called her a "half sister". But his mother fouled them up. She came on the local news in Atlanta and said that Newt and Candace did have different fathers, but they grew up together and she was their mother.

They like us...they really like us!