Debate Over Prop Five Heats Up

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The debate around Proposition Five in Anchorage is starting to heat up. The proposition- on the April municipal ballot- would provide legal protections against discrimination to gay, lesbian and transgender people. Last month, the anti-prop five group ‘Protect Your Rights’  launched a website called On the website, the organizer of that group, and the head of the Alaska Family Council, Jim Minnery, quoted openly gay Anchorage Daily News Columnist, Julia O’Malley, to make the point that the kind of discrimination that prop five would prevent does not exist in in Anchorage.

“Her column basically said it doesn’t matter – she’s been openly gay since she was 17 in Anchorage. And it didn’t matter if she approached her hairdresser or the cable guy or the postman. I can’t remember all the different examples she used and she said I have *Never felt intolerated. I’ve never felt anything but respect. And we basically said, Amen Julia. She was of course wanting to have this ordinance passed. But another quote that she had in that article which I thought was very interesting was that ‘laws, in her experience, will never change peoples’ hearts.’ It’s personal relationships. And another thing that we said Amen to. Because you cannot legislate anything that will require or affect peoples’ hearts and that’s what this is truly about.”

Minnery posted excerpts from the column on his website, but took them down after Julia O’Malley complained he was taking her words out of context. O’Malley says she supports prop five because it offers peace of mind to gay, lesbian and transgender people in Anchorage. She describes her reaction when she saw her words used on the anti prop five site.

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Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her news tips and program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at or call 907-550-8452.

Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage.

Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email.

Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

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