“I do not take this action lightly,” he stated in a letter addressed to the city’s residents. “I became a sponsor of Ordinance 6093 because I believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, and the concept behind this Ordinance is sound. As with most concepts, the details become challenging when they affect so many people with different priorities and opinions.”
Mayor Matherly now thinks it is up to the people to decide on the issue, so he would like the measure to be put to the ballot later this year.
Ordinance 6093 would extend the Non-Discrimination Act to LGBT persons in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
It’s frustrating because it was only missing one vote. The members of the city council voted 4-4, and it takes five votes to avoid a veto by the mayor.
One of the four members of the municipal council who voted in favor of the resolution, Shoshana Rock Kun, expressed sorrow at this vote.
“It is a sad day for democracy,” Kun told NBC News. “The mayor has essentially wasted taxpayer dollars and resources by not following the majority of constituents that spoke up regarding the need for equal protection.”
Lillian Lennon, who campaigned for the non-discrimination measure in Anchorage, said the battle was going to continue so that all the people of Alaska would be treated in the same respect for equality.
“Mayor Matherly made a spineless decision today to stand in the way of democracy and in the way of basic human rights,” Lennon said. “Regardless, we will make sure that when this issue reaches the ballot, we continue to stand with the people of Fairbanks for equality and make sure Mayor Matherly knows that he made the wrong decision.”
Anchorage, Juneau, and Sitka have already approved ordinances against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Alaska.