Sunday, August 23, 2009
So. Anchorage. For a minute, I was really proud to live here. And then Dan Sullivan decided to go with the majority and veto AO 64s which added sexual orientation to the anti-discrimination law. So technically we're back to square one. However, there is a chance to get one Ms. Ossiander to change her vote and override the veto. Here is my letter to her.
My supervisor who is a registered voter and Alaskan born, is generally very progressive regarding his politics, was confused about AO 64. "Why does it matter if this is passed, isn't apart of federal anti-discrimination law already?" he asked me after seeing my picture in the newspaper from the protest the day before.
I had to explain to him that, no, it's not. It is not mandated by federal court. Any and all protective measures for the LGBT community are at the city and state level currently.
There is a huge problem with discrimination in this town. Its even bigger than anyone thought because even the Mayor is under the impression that it doesn't even exist. The citizens are under the impression if it doesn't exist then it doesn't need protection. However, by saying that it doesn't exist and doesn't deserve a paragraph in Anchorage's anti-discrimination law, you are discriminating. You are refusing to acknowledge the handful of citizens who might be protected by it. Discrimination rarely comes from the minority, but rather the majority.
It is so frustrating to try and explain why this fight is so important. How can we possibly ask for equality in marriage and death and children when we can't even get it at the most basic civil level of housing and employment?
My supervisor was very surprised to learn that LGBT rights is not covered in the EEOC. He assumed that it had been included because why would it not be? As soon as he had learned this fact, his entire opinion and demeanor changed. It changed because he believes in the Declaration of Independence which states, "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
I worry about how many others in this state (and the country, for that matter) don't realize that there isn't that basic protection. I wonder how many votes, how many minds might be swayed if they realized they were wrong to assume it was already a protected right somewhere at the federal level?
I am very lucky to work in a place that I don't have to fear my termination because of my sexual orientation. The fact remains though, my supervisor could fire me for being gay if he so chose.
You have the ability to affect real change. You have the voice, the gavel and the opportunity to do the right thing.
As a resident of anchorage, and a registered voter, I am asking you, please do the right thing Ms. Ossiander, and override Mayor Sullivan's Veto. Take a stand with your fellow assemblymen and show this city, this state, and this country that Anchorage is accepting of all its citizens, regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
Thanks to henkimaa.com for the pic. I didn't ask.