Voters, Defying Polls, Reject Prop 5 in Anchorage


The New York Times is reporting in a totally surprise move that Prop 5, which would have established gender identity and sexual orientation as protected legal categories, was defeated by voters 58%-42&. The campaign against it was outspent 4-1.  The main theme of the campaign (see some of their ads here) was that Alaska is already a tolerant place, and that both gay bar owners and Christian bookstore owners should be allowed to hire people with similar views on sex.

Unusual development.  We report you decide:

The New York Times:

"...In [Anchorage's] citywide ballot measure, voters overwhelmingly rejected language, known as Proposition 5, that would have added protections for people regardless of “sexual orientation or transgender identity” to the city’s civil rights laws.

A surprisingly strong turnout caused many polling sites to run out of ballots late Tuesday, and as many as 8,000 votes, possibly more, had not been counted on Wednesday, said Barbara Gruenstein, the clerk for the Municipality of Anchorage. But Proposition 5 trailed by nearly 9,000 votes, defying polls that had suggested it would succeed.

“Amazing what happens when the curtain closes behind you in a voting booth,” Jim Minnery, the chairman of Protect Your Rights Campaign — Vote No on Prop. 5, said Wednesday morning in an e-mail.

The vote followed an unusually loud and expensive campaign for a city ballot measure in Anchorage. The organizers of Proposition 5, a group called One Anchorage, included prominent politicians from both sides of the aisle (Alaska’s United States senators, Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, and Mark Begich, a Democrat, both said they supported it), and the group outspent the opposition more than 4 to 1.

One Anchorage, which had raised about $340,000 as of last week, received some of its support from outside the state, including a $25,000 donation from Tim Gill, a Colorado billionaire who has given generously to gay causes. Opposition was led by conservative religious leaders in Alaska, including within the Roman Catholic Church, and was financed largely by one source, the Anchorage Baptist Temple and its leader, the Rev. Jerry Prevo.