LIVE: City council to vote on equal rights ordinance

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - As the Fairbanks City Council prepares for it's final vote on ordinance 6093, we take a look back to when the ordinance was first introduced and the events leading up to Monday meeting.

After hours of public testimony, deliberation from council members and hundreds of e-mails, the Fairbanks City Council will finally vote on this contentious ordinance.

"People have different perspectives, this one lady says and the fear is your putting in laws that are going to be used as an axe. Another person says these people are needing this protection. They are both right, says, David Pruhs of the Fairbanks City Council.

The ordinance as it reads states, "Whereas discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, or national origin poses a threat to the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the city of Fairbanks."
and, "Whereas to help eliminate such discrimination, the city adopts the following ordinance that creates a private right of action for persons who are the victim of discrimination."

"I'm here to represent myself and my fiancee, we both identify as part of the LBGTQAI community here in Fairbanks, the Golden heart city that we call home, we both have experienced discrimination because of our identities. Especially in employment," Said a Fairbanks resident for the ordinance.

"And you guys are giving them, you are giving pedophiles the opportunity to take advantage of children. In our neighborhoods," Commented a resident against the ordinance.

If passed, Ordinance 6-0-9-3 would change general code to require employers to provide equal employment opportunities to all, for housing and realtors to offer services to all, and prohibits discriminatory behavior from public accommodations.

It also gives a clear description on lawful practices, unlawful intimidation and retaliation, and defines who is affected by this policy.

"I’m here in support of ordinance 6093, as a life- long resident of this community, I think it's time for us to this group of people as a, as everyone else is included in terms of the non-discrimination clause," said a resident for the ordinance.

"As far as this ordinance goes, we already know the city attorney should be blasted everywhere, he tried to take out the religious liberty section out of the ordinance, if the religious liberty is not protected im going to make it plain and simple, the ordinance is perverted, i mean perverted," remarked a resident against the Ordinance.

Since the ordinance was first introduced there have been changes regarding some of the language and a vote was postponed for further clarification and public input.

Those for and against this ordinance have had opportunities to voice their thoughts and opinions on how the ordinance should be written prior to this meeting.

Residents started lining up as early as 10:30 this morning to make sure their voice would be heard.

Mark Zweifel, a Fairbanks resident is in opposition to the ordinance and said, "disagreement does not equal discrimination, so I got here early because I feel like the conservative voice has been marginalized in the newspapers, it's been marginalized, it's not been as vocal."

Fairbanks resident, Rebecca Dunne, said she is in support of the ordinance because, "I am a queer person and this would extend protections that are already available to other classes of people, like by race, and by age and by marital status would extend legal protections to us as well."

All throughout the day, residents filed in, and the meeting hit maximum capacity with many more still filling the hallways listening to the meeting on their phones.

The Fairbanks City Council is expected to make a vote on this ordinance tonight.