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LGBTQ

TIME TO MARCH AGAIN

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      Arguably, the most tyrannical, divisive, hateful, destructive political movement in the country will once again urge children and teens to disrupt government schools for an entire day on Friday April 12, 2019. And for the 23rd year in row, spineless Christians will take it on the chin. They tolerate the ....
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      Why Transgender Candidates Don't Win Elections

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          https://t.co/FMDHeLDxIC

          This is a lengthy piece, but an important one that needs to get more exposure. Please you Yaberzers who are on Twitter and Facebook, if you could share this.

          This has to happen if we're to be a truly democratic country.

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          Alaska Mayor Vetoes LGBTQ Equal Rights Ordinance

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              The Mayor of Fairbanks just vetoed a LGBTQ equal rights ordinance the City Council had passed.

              As I've said here before, I'm of two minds on the issue of being "protected" by law in employment, housing and public accommodation. I have lived long enough to be discriminated against in each one of these areas because I'm gay, and I don't want that to happen to my brothers and sisters.

              But on the other hand, I don't want to be singled out as helpless, or to have co-workers believe in the back of their minds that I can't be fired if I don't measure up, because my employer is afraid of getting sued for discrimination.

              This mayor says the issue is too important to leave to his city council (a remarkable claim on its own) and says the people need to hash it out and vote on it. This issue will be coming more to the fore on a national level in the coming years, so I'd be interested to hear how my fellow Yabberzites would vote, if they lived in Alaska's great interior, or when a similar measure comes before Congress, as it has nearly ever session for the last 20 years.

              FAIRBANKS — Dusk descended on Fairbanks on Friday as nearly 200 people gathered outside Fairbanks City Hall at the Vigil for Equality to protest Mayor Jim Matherly’s Friday morning veto of an equal rights ordinance.

              The ordinance, which the city council adopted Monday by a 4-2 vote, created protections for LGBTQ members in employment, housing and public accommodations, as well as a means for potential victims to challenge discriminatory practices in court.

              In a column sent to the Daily News-Miner Friday morning and addressed to city residents, Matherly, who signed on as a co-sponsor of the ordinance, announced his veto “after much soul searching, research and examination of all facets of the issues ...”

              “I do not take this action lightly. ... As with most concepts, the details become challenging when they affect so many people with different priorities and opinions.

              It is those details that I think require further examination,” Matherly states in the column.

              He also states that he hopes to put the issue to voters in an October ballot measure.

              “I believe this question should be given to city residents that choose to exercise their voting rights. ... this ordinance is bigger than a mayor and six council members,” he wrote.

              Fairbanks City Charter section 4.2 gives the mayor veto power “over all legislative action.” Any veto must be filed in writing with the city clerk within five days of the legislation being adopted and “shall recite the reasons therefore.”

              The sole reason Matherly cites in his veto letter states, “It is my intention to support putting these issues to the voters of Fairbanks in October.”

              The council can override any veto with five affirmative votes. An override vote, if one is to occur, must be taken within 14 days of the veto. The council cannot alter the ordinance before attempting any sort of override. Following an override vote, however, the council can take many actions, including reintroduction and amendments.

              For approximately 30 minutes Friday night, supporters of the ordinance held candles, took turns expressing support for their peers, criticizing Matherly and calling for him to be defeated at the ballot box. Matherly is running for re-election to his second term as mayor in October’s upcoming election.

              “The only referendum I’m supporting this year is the one where we walk him (Matherly) next door and apply for unemployment,” Councilwoman Kathryn Ottersten said, alluding to the adjacent State of Alaska Employment Services office. Ottersten, a transgender woman, is also one of the original co-sponsors of the ordinance.

              One speaker reminded others “that we have your back.” Another said, “To the bullied, the battered, the broken down, we say, we are with you. ... You were born perfect. You are holy.”

              Ottersten posted a statement about Matherly’s veto to Facebook on Friday afternoon.

              “This is, quite simply, the type of anti-democratic, cynical and cowardly act that seems to be increasingly common in our nation. ... His message to all of us is that there are some people who should have to beg for basic human rights,” she stated.

              During a phone interview Friday, Matherly expanded on his decision to veto, a conclusion he said he reached on Wednesday. He acknowledged not taking a strong stance against the ordinance during council discussion or public debate.

              “I believe in the basic spirit of the ordinance,” he said.

              More so, Matherly said it was the “absolute onslaught” of residents saying, as Matherly put it, ‘I want to have a say in this.’”

              “The people should be able to make a decision on something this big,” he added.

              In his column, Matherly references the nearly unprecedented level of public interest generated by Ordinance 6093, while noting a large portion of public comment was generated by people living outside city limits.

              “While I value the opinion of our neighbors in the surrounding communities and visitors from farther out, I want the citizens of Fairbanks to chart their own course and decide how we move forward as a city,” he states.

              The ordinance’s contentious history began on Dec. 3, when council members Ottersten and David Pruhs co-sponsored the legislation. It was advanced with little fanfare and was up for second reading one week later on Dec. 10.

              Typically, two weeks separate City Council meetings, but back-to-back meetings are held in December so the body can finalize the next year’s budget. The short time frame was one of the prime reasons the ordinance was postponed until the council’s Feb. 25 meeting.

              By Feb. 25, the council held almost nine hours of work sessions, received nearly eight hours of public testimony and many hundreds more correspondences.

              Matherly acknowledged that voters elected the current council to make decisions, that there was ample opportunity for public comment and that sending the ordinance to a ballot measure could be considered giving people a second chance to become engaged.

              “I think it’s empowering the voters to become better aware of things and do their homework,” he said.

              At Monday’s meeting, Pruhs and Councilman Jerry Cleworth voted against the ordinance. In his objection, Cleworth cited a failed amendment that would have required allegedly aggrieved individuals to seek recourse outside of courts before pursing litigation.

              Pruhs’ biggest concern was the number of employees a business can have and still be exempt from the ordinance. He wanted a higher number than was approved.

              Hayden Nevill founded the Fairbanks-based group Gender Pioneers, a peer-to-peer support group for LGBTQ members.

              In a statement emailed to the Daily News-Miner, he writes that Matherly’s move “gives our neighbors a license to treat us poorly.”

              Nevill said that a “huge majority” of Fairbanksans support the ordinance.

              “The arguments against the ordinance were based on fear and misunderstanding. It’s disheartening that Mr. Matherly has chosen to legitimize fear instead of legitimizing people,” Nevill states.

              In a joint news release from Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, representatives state that “the mayor has taken this deeply misguided action despite strong support from the Fairbanks City Council, small business owners, other local elected officials and the public at large.”

              In concluding his own statement, Matherly asks for patience and understanding while he prepares a potential ballot measure.

              “I look forward to receiving continued input from Fairbanks residents and businesses as we go forward,” he wrote.


              http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_news/matherly-vetoes-fairbanks-equal-rights-ordinance/article_cd00c14c-3c57-11e9-9ad3-3f546b754eed.html

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