Mayor Sullivan’s veto today of Ordinance 64 is not a surprise. With a stroke of his pen, he effectively endorsed discrimination against our friends and neighbors. If you weren’t sure whether this ordinance was necessary, you needed only to show up for the fear-based, hate-filled, homophobic public testimony of the religious right wing red shirts-sponsored by powerful emerging not-for-profit Political Action Committees like the Anchorage Baptist Temple led by Reverend and Head X-ian Jerry Prevo. ABT, by the way, owns at least 11 properties that are tax exempt. Other ChurchPACs from Wasilla bussed in their X-ian masses to protest this ordinance. X-ian ChurchPACs from as far away as Colorado and Texas joined in the Tuesday night hate-fest at the Loussac Library over the summer.
The Anchorage Assembly can over-ride his veto, but it will take the vote reversal of Debbie Ossiander. She voted against the ordinance along with Bill Starr, Chris Birch and Dan Coffey. Debbie represents Anchorage’s only hope of joining the 21st century. Other parts of the country are debating gay marriage. Here, with Dano’s veto, we will be chained to the mid-20th century debating whether or not a segment of our society ought to be protected against discrimination. Good grief!
As a school board member, Ossiander supported gay rights. In 2001, she voted, along with the rest of the school board (Peggy Robinson, Dave Werdahl, Rita Holthouse, Jake Metcalfe, Harriet Drummond, Debbie Ossiander and Tim Steele) to unanimously approve language including sexual orientation to protect students and faculty from being harassed and discriminated against! Anchorage School Board Policy 114 is clear, concise and unambiguous.
Debbie Ossiander somehow flipped from supporting gay rights to now supporting the right of homophobes to discriminate against gays. Since 2001, the Anchorage School District has not had a single case of men showing up to school dressed in drag to hang out at in women’s bathrooms. The Anchorage School District did not collapse as a result of this policy.
Granted, Ossiander represents the conservative district of Eagle River. Perhaps she cast a no vote for political reasons. There is now an opportunity for Ms. Ossiander to step up to the plate of the 21st Century and hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs to break a tie ball game with a yes vote to over ride Dano’s veto.
Or…worst case scenario, Ms. Ossiander steps to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with bases loaded and only 1 out. Perhaps Ms. Ossiander hits a sacrifice fly for the win to cement her legacy of being a champion for civil rights for EVERYONE. With that sacrifice, it’s possible she might lose her next assembly election. But she would gain so much more political capital and peace of mind for doing the right thing.
Sometimes, doing what’s right isn’t easy.
Ms. Ossiander is in a difficult spot; she voted against her own ideology to appease the right wing of her conservative district. Contact Debbie Ossiander and respectfully request she vote to over ride Mayor Sullivan’s veto.
You may reach her here:
You may contact your own assembly member here and ask them to over ride Mayor Sullivan’s veto.