I've been watching the video feed of the public discussion on the Anchorage, AK ordinance that would add a class of protected persons to their anti-discrimination laws. The law in Anchorage already protects people no matter their race and gender, among other descriptors. The ordinance (#64) seeks to add protections for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (aka LGBT).
The proponents for the ordinance are presenting studies that discrimination against this group is real, and in their testimony they are bearing witness, through personal accounts, of the bigotry, hatred, and ostracizing they or close friends have experienced... in Anchorage.
The opponents of the ordinance are inspired to speak out, to fight against the ordinance, largely by a few pastors of Anchorage churches. Their testimony includes exhortations to God, statistics about the deviance and foulness and disease of gay folks (which seem to be largely unsupported), history lessons going back to the Old Testament, and pleas to the Assembly to refrain from usurping their own rights. Rights? Rights to label others? Rights to discriminate against others? Rights to engage with others only as long as those others recognize their sin and agree to be re-programmed so they are no longer gay?
The opponents are of one voice when they say that lesbians and gays have an illness that comes about from their personal choice. If only, they wail, these deviants, these sick people would accept their help to stop being "not okay" so they could rejoin the Christian™ community!
Frankly, I am appalled. Appalled by the overt hypocrisy in the Reverend Jerry Prevo (and other pastor's) crowd. (See Immoral Minority for a copy of what this right Reverend has sent to his "congregation." See Bent Alaska for a history of the struggle to codify protections for the LGBT community.) I am appalled that a sect... a religious sect really thinks it should be able to enforce its particular beliefs on an entire city. I am appalled that so many individuals, all wearing red shirts, can get up and publicly display their bigotry, their disdain for tolerance, their disgust of fellow human beings. The right Reverend, I think, will have an awful lot to answer for, should he make it to those "pearly gates."
Anyway, more to come on this. There is another open session tonight where additional "testimony" will be taken. Please visit Mudflats for information on how to listen/watch tonight's session. Also please visit Alaska Commons for a comprehensive view of the ordinance and its meaning.