Anchorage voters could decide next spring whether to roll back parts of a 2015 anti-discrimination law and institute a new law that would ban transgender people from using that match their gender identity.
The conservative Alaska Family Action made the announcement on Facebook that supporters turned in nearly 8,500 signatures to certify the so-called “Protect Our Privacy” initiative. The group needs 5,754 of those signatures to be from qualified Anchorage voters for the initiative to appear on next year’s ballot.
“At about 9am this morning, a group of women, after joining in prayer, dropped off close to 8,500 signatures to the Anchorage Municipal Clerk’s office completing the first phase of the Protect Our Privacy Initiative,” the post explained. “The official requirement the city had given was 5,754. The goal was to collect 7,500 to make up for the typical petition signatures that are deemed invalid for various reasons. Because of an outpouring of God’s people, that goal was crushed.”
The group wants to limit access to bathrooms, locker rooms and other “intimate facilities” to the gender on a person’s birth certificate. The initiative would also strictly define a person’s gender throughout Anchorage law as the “immutable biological condition of being male or female” based on the “anatomy and genetics at the time of birth.”
Anchorage’s anti-discrimination laws currently protect a person’s right to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
This isn’t the first time the group has taken aim at transgender people in Alaska. The group lead the charge in opposing the confirmation of Drew Phoenix, a transgender man, to the Alaska Human Rights Commission.
Decline to Sign
The ACLU of Alaska and a coalition group called Fair Anchorage opposed the measure with its “Decline to Sign” campaign. Beyond the matter of fair and equal treatment, laws restricting LGBT protections have a negative economic impact. North Carolina passed a bathroom bill that the Associated Press estimated would cost the state $3.76 billion in lost business over a decade (mostly due to PayPal’s decision to skip building a big new facility in North Carolina). North Carolina legislators ended up repealing parts of the measure in March.
“Anchorage residents know we all took a huge step towards fair and equal treatment for everyone when we passed our non-discrimination ordinance two years ago,” said Fair Anchorage Community Organizer Andrea Zekis in a prepared statement. “It is sad that (Jim) Minnery wants to drag all of us back into a fight about an equal rights law that has worked well and without incident. His hateful attacks on trans folks have been heartbreaking, but the energy we’ve found in our community to resist this attempt to strip people like me of our equal rights has been even more heartwarming.”