Same-sex bathroom initiative to go before Anchorage voters
An initiative that would amend Anchorage’s equal rights ordinance, limiting access to municipal buildings’ bathrooms and locker rooms based on biological sex over gender identity, will appear on ballots in the city’s spring elections.
The Protect Our Privacy Initiative, filed by the Alaska Family Action Council, was certified Thursday to appear on the April 3 ballot according to a statement from Municipality of Anchorage deputy clerk Amanda Moser. Roughly 8,500 signatures were submitted supporting the initiative last week, well over the required thresholdto put it before voters.
“After removing duplicates and signatures that did not comply with code, the Municipal Clerk’s Office confirmed that over 6,200 signatures were qualified registered voters that followed provisions of the code,” Moser wrote. “The Anchorage Municipal Charter requires a petition to be signed by a number of qualified voters equal to at least 10 percent of the voters who cast ballots at the last regular mayor election; in this instance that is at least 5,754 signatures.”
An earlier version of the petition was rejected by local officials in January for being too broad. Supporters made the initiative more specific, allowing private employers and other groups to designate that their bathrooms were same-sex as well.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz was critical of the petition in a brief statement Thursday morning.
“I oppose this now certified initiative petition,” Berkowitz wrote. “It is divisive and distracting at a time when we should be united and focused on the issues that impact Anchorage every day – making sure we have good jobs and a growing economy, that our neighborhoods are safe, and we continue to reduce the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in our community.”