Alaska News

Video: Public testimony at Anchorage Assembly

Several versions of a proposed gay rights ordinance were scheduled for public hearing Tuesday evening at the Anchorage Assembly, a revisiting of proposals that have drawn heated support and opposition in the past.

All the versions of the ordinance would make it illegal in Anchorage to discriminate against any person based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, public accommodations and housing. But the versions differ over whether people, businesses or organizations could claim religion as a legal grounds to discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Here's a summary of the versions of the ordinance that have been proposed:

AO-96: Introduced by Assembly member Bill Evans. Includes a "religious conscience" clause that would allow individuals or businesses to refuse to provide services at same-sex weddings or other ceremonies based on religious belief. Would legally allow the operators of gender-segregated public restrooms, locker rooms or dressing rooms to "require persons to use such facilities appropriate to their gender presentation."

AO-96(S): Introduced by Assembly member Patrick Flynn. Removes the "religious conscience" clause in Evans' version and replaces it with a sentence stating local law would not trump religious rights under the state and federal constitutions. States the operators of public restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms must allow people to use gender-segregated facilities "consistent with their gender identity."

AO-96(S1): Co-authored by Evans and Flynn. Removes the religious conscience clause, but expands an exemption for those with ministerial duties. Retains the provision that the operators of public restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms must allow people to use gender-segregated facilities "consistent with their gender identity."

Read more: History repeats as Anchorage again debates gay-rights ordinances

Sponsored