Letter to the Editor: The Purpose of Law

It has been about two months since Ordinance 6093 was vetoed by Mayor Matherly after being passed by the city council. For those who are not aware, Ordinance 6093 is an extensive anti-discrimination ordinance that includes a section that ensures LGBTQ+ people cannot be denied housing or employment simply for being LGBTQ+. It received a lot of buzz on both the local and national levels, which was part of Mayor Matherly’s reasoning for vetoing the law and ultimately pushing it to the ballot.

I sit here, wondering what the citizens of Fairbanks are going to decide when it comes down to ensuring the basic dignities of my community, and everything seems to revolve around one talking point: religious freedom. The main push back about the ordinance is from religious people claiming that LGBTQ+ people want special rights based on “personal choice”, that the ordinance will limit their freedom to choose who they want to work in their businesses, and that the ordinance is not in line with their personal beliefs.

It’s almost tedious to argue about, especially considering there is a place in the ordinance that specifically states “Additionally, nothing in this chapter shall abridge the rights of a religious institution that has beliefs in conflict with provisions of this chapter.”, but I digress.

The only people requesting special rights based on personal choice are those religious individuals who refuse to pass an anti discrimination ordinance because they want to be able to say “you are gay- you are not welcome here.” and be protected by the law.

The purpose of law is freedom. The purpose of law is to fight injustice and oppression. Ordinance 6093 is a fair ordinance that protects LGBTQ+ people from discrimination within the community while still allowing religious people to do as they please within their establishments. We cannot let bold lies about what this ordinance is distract us from the truth of the matter.

When the time comes, don’t forget to vote for freedom.

Marla Grant