On February 24, 2014, Senate Minority Leader Hollis French announced that he would introduce legislation to strike down Alaska’s constitutional ban on marriage equality. Senate Joint Resolution 30 represents a crucial step forward for thousands of couples and families across Alaska, a state which was among the nation’s first to enact such a ban.
Soon after Sen. Hollis introduced his resolution three LGBTQ-focused organizations, Identity, Alaskans Together for Equality, and Pride Foundation, held a joint press conference in support of SJR 30.
Later that afternoon, the Alaska Senate House and Social Services committee held its first hearing for SB 131, a bill adding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the state’s human rights act. The committee hearing room at the Capitol in Juneau was packed with supporters and allies. Nearly 25 people showed their respect for LGBTQ equality by testifying in person. Others called in to provide perspective from across the state, and groups of individuals gathered in Legislative Information Office conference rooms in Fairbanks and Anchorage.
The day’s events generated significant media coverage and numerous stories across an array of print and broadcast news outlets. Supporters were thrilled to see so many people from across the state simultaneously come together in support of Alaska’s LGBTQ community.
In the coming months, Pride Foundation is joining with coalitions of LGBTQ and progressive organizations to advance the conversation around protections for LGBTQ individuals. To find out how you can support these efforts, please contact Josh, Regional Development Organizer in Alaska.
Josh Hemsath is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Alaska. Email Josh.