Sunday, April 01, 2007

Alaska taking step forward or backwards in civil rights

Alaskans go to the polls April 3 to vote in an expensive one issue advisory vote regarding benefits for those partners and dependents that are not the traditional married one man-one woman vote.

I want to thank Reps. John Coghill and Mike Kelly for their hard work and willingness to spend a paltry $1.2 million of state funds for the important task of asking all Alaskans if they want to enshrine bigotry against those “unconventional couples” in the Alaska Constitution, denying those couples and dependents from receiving health and other benefits of gainful employment.

Their efforts have brought many of all stripes together to oppose this vote on April 3 and I’ve appreciated the diversity and chance to get together with good folks.

To be honest, I never really paid much attention to their marital status — we were just people. My wife and I have been "conventionally" married for 30 years, but I feel as threatened by the proposed constitutional amendment as if we were (horrors) "unconventional". I always thought a constitution was to give rights, not take them away.

There is an irony in Rep. Kelly being so eager to deny rights to those who don’t think like him. As one who plays Irish music, I sometimes sing about the discrimination Irish immigrants faced in America — "No Irish Need Apply". How ready some are to deny others those same rights they had to fight for.

Years later, we will look upon this as we did women’s and civil rights — what were we thinking? I hope a resounding “no” vote from the people will put an end to this.

Here's a link to HJR 9 - the current legislative language for the proposed constitutional amendment. It's actually quite a bit different than the April 3 ballot language. Here's where to keep track of its progress.

I also wrote a blog entry back in December on this issue.

Some articles and opinions

April 1, 2007
Letters to the Editor
Rep. Mike Doogan opinion article
Anchorage Daily News article
Anchorage Daily News opinion

March 31, 2007
News article in the Daily Newsminer
Another news article about the legislative proposal itself, which the proponents aren't even waiting to see what the advisory vote says.
News article on Rep. Kelly trying to sway the vote, using his legislative office. Interesting that the governor didn't feel comfortable telling Alaskans how to vote, but Kelly does. His opinion article April 1 says essentially what was in the letter, which you can view here.
Letters to the Editor

March 29, 2007
Letters to the Editor
More Letters to the Editor

March 28, 2007
Letters to the Editor

March 27, 2007
Letters to the Editor

March 26, 2007
Opinion by Mary Bishop
Letters to the Editor

March 25, 2007
Opinion by Jean Laurencelle
Letters to the Editor

March 24, 2007
Letters to the Editor

March 23, 2007
Letters to the Editor

March 21, 2007
Letters to the Editor

March 20, 2007
Dermot Cole idea on banning divorce
Coghill's opinion AGAIN, for what it is worth. He feels so threatened. I'm not sure that those unconventional couples realized what power they have.

March 18, 2007
Katherine Gouyton opinion
Coghill's opinion


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