Ballot initiative to change Anchorage’s protections for LGBTQ community deemed illegal

The rainbow flag which is a symbol of the LGBTQ community. (Wikimedia image by Benson Kua)

The petition to change Anchorage’s non-discrimination ordinance, which protects the civil rights of the LGBTQ community, will not move forward. A group of Anchorage residents submitted an application for the “Protect Our Privacy Initiative” in early January. On Wednesday, municipal attorney Bill Falsey said it was not legal because it addresses too many different subjects.

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“State and local law require initiatives to address only a single subject,” Falsey said during a phone interview. “The Alaska Supreme Court has held that that rule allows voters to express their will through their votes more precisely, and it prevents policies that lack popular support from being enacted without due consideration or only because they are packaged with a more popular item.”

The “Protect Our Privacy Initiative” included provisions that would have limited access to restrooms based on genetics and anatomy at birth. It also would have allowed employers to fire people based on their views of marriage and premarital sex.

Falsey said he did not have to address the constitutionality of these provisions because the application had already violated the single subject rule.

Petition sponsor Kim Minnery said they are reviewing the legal response and have no comment at this time.

Anchorage’s non-discrimination ordinance passed in 2015 and adds protections for people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

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After being told innumerable times that maybe she asked too many questions, Anne Hillman decided to pursue a career in journalism. She's reported from around Alaska since 2007 and briefly worked as a community radio journalism trainer in rural South Sudan. ahillman (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8447  |  About Anne