Voters in Alaska have rejected a proposal to give
anti-discrimination rights to gay people.
According to Reuters, Anchorage residents went to the polls on
April 4 to vote in the municipal election, elect the school board
and vote in favour or against Proposition 5.
Currently, Anchorage's 300,000 residents are protected from
discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, race and
disability under the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative.
The proposed extension of the initiative would have protected
homosexuals in areas such as housing and employment.
Proposition 5 would have protected gay, lesbian and transgender
people from discrimination, something that gay right activists have
campaigned in favour of for decades.
In 1976, then-Mayor George Sullivan vetoed a similar proposal
which would have prohibited discrimination due to sexual
Sullivan's son, Dan Sullivan, again rejected the proposal when he
was mayor in 2009.
Over 60,000 people voted, of which 58% voted against the proposal.
It is believed that a loose and undefinitive definition of the term
"transgender" may have been largely to blame for the lack of
The Anchorage News Tribune reports that whilst forty-five Church
leaders spoke out in support of the changes, eighty other Church
leaders signed an open letter stating that the addition to the
current initiative should not go ahead.
In particular, the Anchorage Baptist Temple donated $80,000 to
campaigning against Proposition 5.