Anchorage, Alaska—There is a chance Anchorage voters may have the final say on an equal rights law come April. Equality Works has launched its One Anchorage Campaign, a push to garner enough support and signatures to get an equal rights initiative on the next ballot.
The initiative would make it against the law for an employer or owner of public housing to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It is the same issue that caused an uproar in 2009 when the Anchorage assembly passed an equal rights ordinance after hearing hundreds of people testify. The ordinance was later vetoed by Mayor Dan Sullivan.
"It's sad that we're even having this conversation. Anchorage is better than this, Alaska is better than this. We will put this behind us, we will make this a community where all are equal in the eyes of the law," said Rev. Michael Burke, a co-sponsor of the initiative.
Those who oppose the proposed initiative have their own concerns.
"We definitely support the fact that people should love who they want to love, it's just that there are very real consequences for those of us who feel that we can't keep our faith checked at the door of our places of worship," said Jim Minnery with Alaska Family Council.
Nearly 6,000 signatures are needed to get the iniative on the April ballot. Equality Works has 90 days to gather signatures.