JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - Following Monday night's regular CBJ Assembly meeting, Juneau has an ordinance ensuring equal rights for all citizens.
The ordinance, authored by Deputy Mayor Jesse Kiehl, makes discrimination based on race, color, age, religion, sex, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or national origin against the law.
Public comment was taken, with most speaking in favor of the ordinance. One Juneau woman to whom the ordinance might not directly apply explained why it was important to her for the ordinance to pass.
"I'm a Christian, cisgendered, heterosexual woman, and I'm married to a cisgendered, heterosexual man. If that was all you knew about me, you might think I wouldn't have a horse in this race; you'd be wrong. I want to live in a community where my friends and neighbors can't be evicted from their home because of who they love, how they gender present, or to whom they are married; I want to live in a community where my friends can't lose their jobs because of their ethnicity,where they're from, what they worship, or don't; I want to live in a community where we don't allow discrimination on any basis... where we allow each other to live our lives as we see fit as long as we aren't harming others."
There was only one objection to the ordinance from the Assmebly, courtesy of Jerry Nankervis.
Nankervis noted that his objection was not with the intent of the legislation, but with the length and redundancy of its content.
"I thought that this was too long, and I still think it's too long. My understanding is that what we're trying to do is include sexual orientation and gender identity under the group of protected class people. I thought that could've worked with about a page, so I'm still under the impression that this is about 14 pages too long."
Ultimately, despite Nankervis' concerns, the ordinance passed 8 to 1, providing an extra layer of protection for Juneau citizens.