A sea of red and then purple

Amanda CoyneThe New York Times

gayordinance_6_8_09Those wearing red shirts inside and outside the Loussac Library Tuesday evening were against the ordinance to ban discrimination against gays and lesbians. The blue shirts were for the ordinance that the Anchorage Assembly is set to vote on next week, and for which they heard public testimony about Tuesday evening.

Initially, it seemed as if the whole place was awash in a sea of red. But then the blues began to trickle in, and the reds and the blues began competitive chants (i.e. reds: "no special rights." blues: "equal, not special.")

gayordinance_6_8_09.2I'd say overall there were more reds than blues, but what the blues lacked in numbers, they made up for in heart. Also, they smiled more.

Because of health reasons, my pastor, John Carey, from Immanuel Presbyterian Church, couldn't stay through the long night to testify. But he is going to write up what he would have said. I'll publish it here when I get it.

Much more this week. In the meantime, here's a passage taken from a 1993 ADN story by Steve Rinehart. That would be 16 years ago:

When Assembly Chairman Craig Campbell hammered shut the public hearing on a city gay rights proposal Wednesday evening, there was scattered applause, a wave of relief and a round of congratulations. So ended the longest hearing anyone on the assembly could remember. It lasted 15 hours, spread over five days. More than 150 people testified, according to the city clerk's log. And, it appeared that no single mind on the assembly or at least not one vote had been changed.

The most controversial question of the year of 1992, that is is scheduled for a vote Tuesday. Unless the lineup changes, the measure is likely to be approved by a bare six-vote majority. Then, if Mayor Tom Fink stands by his promise, it will be vetoed..