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Anchorage AK Mayor Dan Sullivan Endorses Anti-Gay Discrimination

Timothy Kincaid

August 17th, 2009

Of course the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, has not formally announced that he supports and encourages anti-gay discrimination. But he might as well have.

Non-discrimination policies are hardly new, controversial, or unexpected. Currently 21 states, 85% of Fortune 500 companies, and dozens more cities and municipalities protect their gay and lesbian residents from discrimination in employment and housing. It is expected that Congress will pass with bi-partisan support, and the president will sign, a Employment Non-Discrimination Act into law.

So why then would Mayor Dan Sullivan veto a provision passed by the Anchorage assembly on a 7 to 4 vote?

“My review shows that there is clearly a lack of quantifiable evidence necessitating this ordinance,” the mayor said. “My review also shows that the vast majority of those who communicated their position on the ordinance are in opposition.”

In other words, the citizens want to discriminate against gay people… but gay people don’t need protection from this discrimination. Maybe it’s just the Monday blues, but I’m finding it difficult to fathom an interpretation of this statement that isn’t an unstated endorsement of anti-gay discrimination.



August 17th, 2009 | LINK

Umm.. what does “quantifiable evidence” of discrimination have to do with securing people’s rights? You either endorse or oppose it, and clearly he’s staked his position.

August 17th, 2009 | LINK

There’s still a chance to override the veto with one more vote.. Don’t know how likely that is.

Also a link to the full article was included at your original link with more details.

Gnarly Erik
August 17th, 2009 | LINK

Clearly Sullivan is a gutless wonder – in spite of his ‘support’ for this measure, he sniffed the political winds and took a coward’s way out.

Let’s hope he has aspirations for higher office. This will be good fodder to be used against his sorry butt.

August 17th, 2009 | LINK

Um, what, Erik? Get off the pot.

Opposition to gay-pertinent legislation is certainly not politically toxic in today’s climate. Most straights don’t even pay attention to these bills, or care much for what gets done.

Heck, even 1/3 of the Democratic party opposes same-sex marriage, and the leadership tip-toes around it, with several leaders passive-aggresively cokblocking gay measures (hello, Donna Brazile raising hell over establishing gay quotas ala black quotas in DNC procedures).

Vicki O
August 17th, 2009 | LINK

as an anchorage resident, I watched in dismay during the months of public hearings. People opposed to equal rights were bussed in from a nearby ultra-conservative town to speak. And even though many many clergymen & women spoke in support of equal rights, one prominent minister & his minions were right up front in opposition. Outright lies were spread by this minister. I got into an argument with some of the demonstrators when hearing a group of kids say they “hate gays” even though they were holding up signs reading “hate the sin, love the sinner”. One protestor held a sign which a sign which was “religiously correct” when cameras were around, but the backside read “Fags will burn in hell” when the cameras weren’t around. I’m straight, a Christian & absolutely engulfed in sorrow that our mayor & 4 of our assemblypersons have decided that it’s okay to discriminate. (Sullivan based his veto on 2500 calls/emails in a town of 300,000+). Most of my gay friends can not come out at work; the veto reinforces their decisions. Unfortunately, this is a red city in a red state & this kind of veto will not harm Sullivan in future elections. The only good that came out of this, I think, was meeting the equal rights demonstrators & seeing first-hand how many clergy support equal rights for all. I hope that my gay friends have seen that demonstration of support & can ignore the hideous heart-breaking BS from the “red-shirters”.

August 17th, 2009 | LINK

These people hate gays, theirs no way you could argue gay people not being fired for being gay will ever have an impact on you. Then again that applies to every single gay rights issue.

August 18th, 2009 | LINK

Good for you, Vicki O! I wish there were a lot more people just like you!!!!

Mark F.
August 18th, 2009 | LINK

He might have said that he opposes anti-gay discrmination but he also supports freedom of association and does not think private discrimination should be illegal–that would be a good libertarian position. But that does not appear to be his position.

I continue to oppose any “right” to force someone to associate or employ you.

Chris McCoy
August 18th, 2009 | LINK

Mark F. said:

I continue to oppose any “right” to force someone to associate or employ you.

– “I refuse to employ you because you are not qualified”
– “I refuse to employ you because your references say you are untrustworthy”
– “I refuse to employ you because you have a history of stealing”
– “I refuse to employ you because you are not legally authorized to work in this jurisdiction”

Are different from:

– “I refuse to employ you because you are left handed”
– “I refuse to employ you because you have brown eyes”
– “I refuse to employ you because you are Catholic”
– “I refuse to employ you because you are from a foreign country”
– “I refuse to employ you because you are a Jew”
– “I refuse to employ you because you are black”
– “I refuse to employ you because you are gay”
– “I refuse to employ you because you will not have sex with me”
– “I refuse to employ you because you will not give me money”

The 1st set of reasons are legitimate.
The 2nd set are discrimination.

Chris McCoy
August 18th, 2009 | LINK

One of the social/thought experiments I would love to create would be to start a common business that didn’t have a noticeable gay theme; hire a bunch of people, and then fire them for being heterosexual. “I’m sorry, but I can’t have you setting a bad example for Bob over there. What if he left his husband and started dating *gasp* women.”

I wonder if any of them would sue, or complain to the media, for being discriminated against.

Then I could say “but firing someone for their sexual orientation is not against the law.”

Richard W. Fitch
August 18th, 2009 | LINK

Anchorage Daily News: Mayor vetoes gay rights ordinance.
The story is not over. Readers’ comments at ADN are quite interesting!

August 18th, 2009 | LINK

Had I known that he was going to base a veto on the “majority of people” who contacted him, I would have called his office every single day to leave a message with my support of protecting our gay/lesbian citizens. I am heartsick by this veto and tired of fighting a city and state that clearly discriminate against those that are different from the majority of rifle-toting Bible-thumping bullies. I am sorry to the gay and lesbian people that I let down by not pursuing the mayor’s email and phone messages. It is apparently open discrimination here in Anchorage, but please know that there are many people who do not feel this way. Please don’t give up the fight. I won’t. I will try harder.

August 19th, 2009 | LINK

Isn’t this sort of protection from being fired a moot point? Who would ever work for such an employer?

Timothy Kincaid
August 19th, 2009 | LINK


True… but only in some cases.

If you work for Joe of Joe’s Garage, then life is going to be miserable either way.

But if you work for MegaCompany, Inc., and your regional manager fires you because he ain’t werkin’ with no faaaags, it’s nice to have recourse to go in and demand your job back or compensation.

And, besides, much of the benefit is intangible and not related to actual employment, per se. If you can be fired for being gay then it is fair game to mistreat, mock, and humiliate you for being gay. But if employment discrimination is illegal, it does two things: 1) it sets a tone that anti-gay attitudes are not appropriate, and 2) creating a hostile workplace is often seen as the equivalent of job discrimination.

That being said… my caviat: I share some of Mark F’s libertarian objection to jobs protections in general. I tend to prefer that people have the right to be idiots, even hateful idiots, and to have their businesses suffer from the repercussions of discrimination. And I think the right to free assembly includes the right to exclude such assembly – even in employees – to knuckleheads that agree with every little bigoted notion that flits through your head. But if non-discrimination laws are to exist, if is bizarre to provide protections based on race or religion but not on orientation.

Priya Lynn
August 19th, 2009 | LINK

Duncan, also, what happens when the majority of employers don’t want to hire your kind? You may not always have the option to find employment with someone who likes you and an anti-discrimination law may be your only hope.

August 19th, 2009 | LINK

My understanding is there’s no non-discrimination policy in employment even within the local government itself there in Alaska. At the very least the government should adopt an ordinance not to discriminate with people’s tax dollars, but apparently even that tame measure met opposition and was repealed.

I agree with Tim’s caveat. Ideally we wouldn’t need this and people should be free to associate as they prefer, but if there’s laws they should apply across the board.

Also this isn’t just about employment, but finding a place to live, too.

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