Alaska House Committee Votes to Move LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Bill Forward

By Shane Stahl • March 8, 2018 • 5:16 pm

In a positive move forward, the Alaska House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, March 7 voted to advance House Bill 184, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s existing civil rights law.

Yesterday’s bipartisan committee vote of 4-2 moves the bill forward to the House Judiciary Committee; if passed out of the Judiciary, the legislation would then move to the Rules Committee before arriving to the House floor for a full vote.

“Yesterday’s committee passage is one step in a long process, but it’s encouraging progress,” said Rep. Andy Josephson, who sponsored the bill along with co-sponsors Reps. Les Gara, Geran Tarr, Scott Kawasaki, Ivy Sponholz, Harriet Drummond, Matt Claman, Sam Kito III, Justin Parish, and Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins.

Already in the Last Frontier State, three cities have passed local nondiscrimination laws: Juneau, Sitka, and Anchorage.

Anchorage, the first city in the state to pass comprehensive protections at the local level, is embroiled in its own campaign to defend LGBTQ equal treatment.

In less than a month, on April 3, 2018, the citizens of Anchorage will vote on a ballot measure known as Proposition 1, which would remove existing nondiscrimination protections in the city’s civil rights code for transgender people, on the books since 2015. If Prop 1 were to pass, it would permit anyone the authority to check a person’s birth certificate before allowing them to in the bathroom.

Luckily, many in Anchorage have taken action to speak out and mobilize against the bill. Freedom For All Americans is proud to support the efforts of Fair Anchorage, the campaign to Vote No on Prop 1, in collaboration with the state’s ACLU. Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll has also offered that the law would be impossible to enforce, and that his department “does not have staff to post at every bathroom.” Additionally, coalitions of businesses, faith leaders, and women have also raised their voices in opposition to Prop 1.

The vote to move forward on statewide nondiscrimination legislation is significant, and a big step forward in what would make Alaska the 20th state in the union to offer statewide nondiscrimination protections. Freedom For All Americans congratulates Alaskans Together For Equality, who have helped shepherd the legislation forward and worked with lawmakers on the issue.

To follow the latest in Alaska regarding nondiscrimination, click here.

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