Backers of gay rights initiative top opponents in fundraising

Rosemary Shinohara

In a demonstration of lopsided fundraising, backers of the gay rights initiative on the April city ballot have raised $232,000, including $25,000 from Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, while a group opposed to the initiative has collected less than $5,000, according to the latest campaign disclosure reports filed with the state.

The money can be spent on advertising and other efforts to sway the vote.

The initiative would extend legal protections against discrimination that are already in city code to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Anchorage.

The existing law prohibits discrimination in employment, loans, rentals, real estate deals and other areas on the basis of race, color, marital status, religion, disabilities and the like.

Jim Minnery, chairman of the anti-initiative group Protect Your Rights -- Vote No on Prop 5 said his group is campaigning mainly through presentations to churches and pastors, and that doesn't cost that much.

The anti-prop group also is reaching out through Facebook and a Web page,

"We still have a few weeks left," he said. "Now we realized it might be nice to get some TV ads and radio."

Trevor Storrs, spokesman for One Anchorage Yes on Prop 5, said the pro-initiative group has received contributions from 1,100 Alaskans. One Anchorage Yes reported 936 contributions from Anchorage residents to date and in a news release Wednesday said the donations reflect "overwhelming grassroots support."

Besides the large Planned Parenthood donation, it received $10,000 each from the Pride Foundation and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Storrs said.

"All the funds raised will help provide information on the importance of a diverse community" through an ad campaign and otherwise, Storrs said. One Anchorage's Web page is at

Planned Parenthood CEO Clover Simon said her group's donation on behalf of the initiative is from money it raised, not from government grants or foundation support. Part of the Planned Parenthood mission is to make sure people are not discriminated against, Simon said. The group has been active in similar campaigns in Idaho and Washington, she said.

The biggest contributor to Protect Your Rights -- Vote No on Prop 5 is Chapel by the Sea in South Anchorage, which describes itself as a nondenominational Bible church. Pastor Tim Davis said the congregation gave $3,025 to support a meeting for Anchorage pastors that Protect Your Rights has scheduled Thursday.

"Our interest is simply to support that meeting so pastors can get educated," said Davis. "There's a concern it has been one-sided presentation."

The campaigns filed reports with the Alaska Public Offices Commission Monday, 30 days ahead of the election.

Protect Your Rights reported no funds until the past month.

One Anchorage got a much earlier start, raising money last year while it was circulating petitions to get the issue on the ballot.

A third group, Protect Your Freedoms Vote No on Prop 5, filed a report with APOC but said it had raised no funds. Glenn Clary of the Anchorage Baptist Temple is the chairman of that group. Clary did not return Daily News phone calls Wednesday.

Reach Rosemary Shinohara at or 257-4340.

Anchorage Daily News