Gov. Sarah Palin ignored a Gay Pride Month proclamation submitted by Anchorage PrideFest, but a proposal to add “sexual orientation” to the city's non-discrimination policies caught the attention of Wasilla fundamentalists, who arrived in busloads to testify at the Anchorage meeting while their children protested outside.

Children opposing the equal rights ordinance lined the entrances to the parking lot and building, wearing red shirts and carrying mass produced signs from the Alaska Family Council.

Palin's hometown of Wasilla is not part of the Anchorage Municipality, and has a larger percentage of fundamentalists. Perhaps opponents could not find enough anti-gay Anchorage residents willing to testify against their neighbors and coworkers.

Before the hearing, Anchorage PrideFest sent a Pride Month proclamation to Gov. Palin, inviting her to attend the annual Parade & Festival on June 20. Palin has not responded, although she has proclaimed Flag Day, Fishing Week and Auburn Founders Day in honor of Auburn, New York, so far for June.

The proclamation asks Palin to declare June as Gay Pride Month and to “urge all citizens of Alaska to join me in celebrating diversity by attending, supporting, recognizing, and respecting Anchorage PrideFest 2009 activities and events.”

On June 1, President Obama declared June as LGBT Pride Month, stating support for measures like “outlawing discrimination in the workplace,” a subject covered by the proposed Anchorage equal rights ordinance.

The ordinance, AO 2009-64(S), adds “sexual orientation,” defined to include gender identity, to the list of groups protected against discrimination in employment, housing, financing, education, public accommodations and municipal business. The original proposal was revised by the mayor to address the concerns of opponents, but the opponents still object, saying “the term “sexual orientation” is not acceptable in any discrimination ordinance.”

Wasilla residents do not pay property taxes to Anchorage, nor do they vote for our Assembly members. However, a suggestion to limit testimony to Anchorage residents was rejected by the Assembly Chair.

Please join us at the next hearing on the equal rights ordinance, on Tuesday, June 16 at Loussac Library. Everyone is invited to attend the meeting and the picnic on the lawn. Anchorage residents are encouraged to write to our Assembly members and ask them to vote YES on the Equal Rights Ordinance.

Visit Bent Alaska for the Pride Month Proclamation, information on the ordinance and email addresses of Assembly members.

Bent Alaska

Bent Alaska

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