FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Fairbanks City Council introduced a new Fform of public testimony last night, due to the tremendous amount of people who signed up to voice their thoughts on the mayor's decision to veto ordinance 6093.
Through a new lottery system implemented only for last night's meeting, 19 of the 48 people who signed up to testify voiced either their support or opposition.
"I am grateful because ordinance 6093 belongs before the people of Fairbanks for a vote. With that being said, it is the worst piece of religious discrimination that Fairbanks has ever seen.", voiced a Fairbanks resident.
"The choice to veto this ordinance disregards the duty of elected officials to protect the civil rights of all citizens.", said another Fairbanks resident.
"God provided a judgment for homosexuality in the first proceeding chapter.", As another man read passages from the bible.
"I am broken hearted that the Golden Heart of Fairbanks has been broken by the veto of this ordinance, which was passed by elected officials.", another woman lamented.
The city chambers were filled to standing room only, as citizens eagerly waited to hear whether the four council members who originally voted for the ordinance to pass would convince their counterparts to change their mind.
Shoshana Kun, Kathryn Ottersten, Valerie Therrien, and June Rogers were the original four votes that passed the ordinance on February 25th, with Jerry Cleworth and David Pruhs, voting against the ordinance.
Four days later, Mayor Jim Matherly vetoed the ordinance, with the idea of bringing it to the city of Fairbanks for a vote on the ballot in the upcoming election.
"I don't know. We should just drop this at this point. I am just so discouraged by what I hear.", said Jerrry Cleworth, Fairbanks city council member.
"I've got to say, you're discouraged about this because youv'e spent 11 weeks with this. I have spent 38 years of my life!", shouted a Fairbanks resident.
"We need to have some order, we do, we do, the council is discussing this right now.", said Jim Matherly, Mayor of Fairbanks
"We already lost order a long time ago.", voiced another Fairbanks Resident
A vote of 5 to 1 was needed in order to overturn the veto.
"It would be a motion to override the Mayor's veto.", said the Fairbanks city clerk
"Alright, we need a motion to override the veto? Yes, Mrs.Therrien?", questioned Matherly.
"I move that we override the mayor's veto on ordinance 6093.", voiced Valerie Therrien, of the Fairbanks city council.
After council comments, the vote remained 4 to 2, resulting in the veto remaining, with Cleworth and Pruhs opposing the veto overturn.
When discussing the next steps, council member, Ottersten, suggested a "cooling off" period from the subject altogether to promote healing in the community.
"For now, we'll just go evaluate ourselves and the ordinance and we'll read it, study it a little more, and then we will bring it up in a future meeting perhaps.”, said Matherly.
The council then agreed to a moratorium on the ordinance to evaluate and reflect. According to the Fairbanks Chief of Staff, Mike Meeks, the council has until July, to decide whether or not to put the ordinance on the ballot for the upcoming election.