Anchorage anti-discrimination ordinance up for revision

Public testimony is closed on a controversial Anchorage ordinance that could extend legal protections to residents on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

But the measure’s final form isn’t yet clear.

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Members of the public line up to testify before the Anchorage Assembly on an anti-discrimination ordinance. Public testimony will continue Wednesday night, Sept. 16. Photo: Zachariah Hughes/KSKA.
Members of the public line up to testify before the Anchorage Assembly on an anti-discrimination ordinance. Public testimony will continue Wednesday night, Sept. 16. Photo: Zachariah Hughes/KSKA.

After extending the public comment period to accommodate overflow, final action on the measure was postponed until the Assembly’s last September meeting. That was in part because Assembly Chair Dick Traini wanted to make sure all members of the body were present for voting, and Vice Chair Elvi Gray-Jackson is currently out of state for a White House event.

When the Assembly resumes discussion it’ll be over proposed amendments. Some will be minor tweaks to language, particularly on the wording around ministerial exemptions that give hiring latitude to religious organizations.

But conservative Assembly Member Amy Demoboski says she plans to introduce multiple amendments that are aimed at better protecting religious freedoms.

Most of those watching the measure expect it will pass. If so, Anchorage would become the first city in Alaska to extend full legal protection from housing and workplace discrimination on the basis of gender expression and sexual orientation.