Election Today; All Eyes on Prop 5
ANCHORAGE - Proposition 5, on today’s municipal ballot in Anchorage, would add sexual orientation and transgender identity to the protected classes under the existing anti-discrimination ordinance.
It’s similar to an ordinance amendment approved by the assembly but vetoed by Mayor Dan Sullivan in 2009.
Now it's back as a citizens’ initiative, endorsed by Sullivan’s opponent – Assemblyman Paul Honeman – and inspiring passions on both sides.
Pastor Martin Eldred of Joy Lutheran church in Eagle River said many people in the Anchorage bowl will breathe a sigh of relief if the proposition passes.
"They live in fear of maybe their boss or their landlord will know or find out that they really are gay and they'll lose their job. It's happened to friends of mine. It's happened to people who have come into my office and have shed tears over being outed and then given a pink slip that next day."
But one opponent of Proposition 5 says it's people like him who are in danger. He says he doesn't appreciate the gay lifestyle and predicts that if the proposition passes there will be numerous lawsuits that will close businesses and change the face of anchorage forever.
“You couldn't get more divisive,” said Mel Bennett. “You'd be hard put to find something that would more divide us. People would really hate them then. You want to talk about really hating them, they will really start hating them when they see the prices go up and they know that they are the reason they went up, because of all the lawsuits they're filing them. You bet."
Leaders of the No on 5 effort did not make themselves available for interviews today.
As it goes down to the wire, people on both sides are feeling hope and fear, making this a ballot question unlike any other in recent Anchorage history.