July 20, 2009

Why are they dragging the Governor into this?

Why are they dragging the Governor into this?

From sosanchorage.com/org:

Anchorage Daily News

Sloppy proposal reeks in timing, content, intent


(06/13/09 19:04:40)

Is anybody really still in the dark about why certain members of our august Assembly, at this particular time, are hell-bent on ramming through an ordinance adding “sexual orientation” to the growing list of behaviors and personal traits protected against discrimination?

The proposed measure, AO No. 2009-64 (S), was offered by Faux Mayor Matt Claman at a time when the city is up to its eyeballs in debt, has daily bouts of often-fatal gunplay and faces other serious challenges. Such as: Gee, do we really need fire trucks available all the time?

Instead of dealing with the myriad tangible, pressing issues at hand, Claman et al. — and how many are in the et al. camp on the Assembly is anybody’s guess — are peddling a poorly crafted proposed ordinance addressing what essentially is a nonexistent problem. Has there been a rash of discrimination against gays? Do people seek them out to be mean?

Deny them housing? Refuse them loans? Fire them? Say ugly things about their shoes? Not so you’d notice. At a packed hearing last week on the ordinance — about 88 of the 317 people who signed up to testify actually had their say; the rest get another shot Tuesday — there was ample grumbling and various anecdotal accounts about such things, but few actual complaints filed with offices such as the Equal Rights Commission.

Despite that, despite the lack of a credible problem, despite protections already provided in the U.S. Constitution, the Alaska Constitution and the Municipal Charter, some on the Assembly are in an absolute tizzy to change the anti-discrimination law to include the words “sexual orientation.”

That is defined thusly: “… Actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender expression or identity. As used in this definition, ‘gender expression or identity’ means having or being perceived as having a self-image, appearance, or behavior different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.’ ” Good grief.

Proponents want to sneak the ordinance through before the duly elected mayor, Dan Sullivan, takes office July 1 to avoid any possibility of a veto. They even thought they would grease the skids by adding military veterans to the lengthening list of protected classes — sans the Navy for reasons nobody can fathom — to make it tougher for Assembly members to vote no. They amended them out of the proposal when veterans became irate.

What we are left with is a sloppy proposal that is a classic example of a poorly crafted, hurried piece of legislation with almost certain unintended consequences down the road.

For instance, what exactly does “perceived” mean? Perceived by whom? If I am denied a home loan and I “perceive” the banker is gay, can I sue, claiming that is why I was denied? Vice versa? The thing with lousy law is that it is open to interpretation by judges who too often are not even as smart as the people who wrote the statute. And lawyers? They’ll have a field day.

Don’t get me wrong. I oppose the proposed ordinance not because I oppose equal rights for gays or bisexuals or anybody else. We all have the same rights. Exactly the same rights. All of us. Get over it. I oppose the ordinance because it stinks. Timing. Content. Intent. Language. The weasel factor.

It all reeks, and its proponents on the Assembly have done the gay and transgender community no favors.

How the vote might go, if one ever is taken, is not certain, but this much is: Of the five Assembly members deemed most likely to vote for the ordinance — Patrick Flynn, Harriet Drummond, Elvi Gray Jackson, Sheila Selkregg and Mike Gutierrez — only one, Selkregg, is up for re-election in 2010, as is Claman, who cannot vote and will return to his Assembly seat when Sullivan takes his post. The other four face voters in 2011.

If the proposed ordinance passes and is signed into law, I wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for any of their chances. In the end, it may be the best thing. This is, after all, the Assembly we got when we stopped paying attention.

There likely would be a measure on next year’s ballot to strip the ordinance from the books, and that would bring many people to the polls who might otherwise stay home.

That could be a bad thing for some folks.

I find it rather entertaining that Jerry and friends are having to resort to posting comments on the Anchorage Daily News website and the cut-and-pasting them onto their own site in order to find “published resources” supporting their nonsense.  The comments about our “Faux mayor Matt Claman” try to add an air of illegitimacy to the the standard proceedings of the Assembly.  I do like the imagery Mr. Jenkins employs: ramming through the assembly, up to its eyeballs in debt, the weasel factor.  He rushes to assure his readers that he doesn’t oppose the ordinance because “We all have the same rights. Exactly the same rights. All of us. Get over it.” Yet he chooses to end his article with the thinly-veiled threat that a possible ballot measure resulting from the proceedings of the Assembly “could be a bad thing for some folks.”

Well, guess what?  I can cut and paste comments off of the Anchorage Daily News site, too.  Here are some of my favorites from the most recent article about the Assembly Proceedings:

beachbum2315 wrote on 07/08/2009 03:00:33 PM:

Why is it that the Prevo “so called” Christians who read the bible as we hear repeatedly over and over the ones who scream the loudest against gay rights? I also read the bible and Jesus said love one another and treat eachother as you want to be treated. I have a hard time understanding that the Prevo people would want to be discriminated against, have seperate laws for them, hate crimes acceptable etc. We are ALL brothers and sisters and everyone has the same rights under the law according to the Constitution of the USA “equal rights for ALL”. Cant we start honoring that?

h2h907 wrote on 07/08/2009 01:06:42 PM:

I wanted to speak at the assembly meetings, but with Prevo’s people getting there at 3 pm, when I’m at work, it’s just not likely.

I could potentially use my 3 minutes to dispell the sky-is-falling reactionary hysteria over potential lawsuits (which have not been a significant issue anywhere such legislation has been adopted), or the pseudo-scientific factoids, or the outright lies, or the entirely irrelevant religious opinion that has ZERO bearing on the discussion.

Instead, I think the best testimony for this ordinance is the words and actions of those opposing it. I hope the assembly and our new mayor recognize a fillibuster by a tiny religious special interest when they see it.

lessonlearned wrote on 07/08/2009 10:26:17 AM:

What I dont think people realize is that everyday they work, live and recreate beside a gay or lesbian person without even knowing it. We are no differant than anyone else. But like any group of the human race there are always a few that can push things to the limit and mess it up for the rest of us. Thanks guys. We all have our own beliefs. i do not expect anyone to change thier beliefs for me. I just wish to be accepted for the good person that I am, not the way that i choose to live. I wish not to inflict my lifestyle on others. Just to be equal. Maybe some in our commmunity should see this way instead of pushing the limit and causing such a ruckass, Even though I am in a lesbian relationship, what i do in my home is private. I do not believe that the world is going to change anytime soon and so I will keep my private business my private business untill such time comes. It just makes more sense. one step at a time, you can jump the whole stair case in one bound!!

bstringd wrote on 07/07/2009 11:57:10 PM:

After watching the meeting on TV, I commend the Assembly’s patience for enduring so much rambling repetitive testimony from a sea of red-shirted intolerant people. The need for passage of the anti-discrimination ordinance could not have been more clearly demonstrated. I trust the Assembly to base their decision on our Constitution, not on biblical dogma.

The majority of Mr. Jenkins arguments are part and parcel with the rhetoric we’ve been hearing from Jerry Prevo’s followers.  I’m sure there’s a handout or email somewhere (and I’d happily pay $5 it if you’ve got one) giving instructions for phrases and words to use when talking about this ordinance in public.  Anyone who still doesn’t believe that Anchorage citizens are discriminated against because they are members of the GLBT community is either not paying attention, or is hurriedly stuffing sanctimoniously saturated cotton into their ears.

I look forward to see you at the Assembly meeting tomorrow.  Get there early if you can.  Wouldn’t it be great to have an Assembly Hall awash in a sea of blue?


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