The evening of September 29th the Anchorage Assembly passed an anti-discrimination ordinance, which expands protections from discrimination to LGBT individuals.
The following evening the UAA Seawolf Debate team hosted a very timely public debate over whether “individuals and organizations ought to be free to refuse service to patrons on the basis of religious objection.” The debate, which took place at Beartooth Theater and was a fundraiser for the UAA Seawolf Debate Program, focused in large part on the passing of the ordinance.
Arguing religious objection is a constitutional right were Jim Minnery, President of the Alaska Family Council, and Bernadette Wilson, host of KFQD’s Bernadette Live.
In opposition to the preference of religious objection over individual identification were Josh Decker, Executive Director of ACLU Alaska, and Reverend Martin Eldred of Joy Lutheran Church.
After the debate Steve Johnson Director of the Seawolf Debate Program at UAA expressed pleasure with the event itself, the audience and the speakers. Johnson endorsed debate as being important to civil discourse and essential to the functioning of democracy.
All in all, audience members seemed to appreciate the speakers’ different points of view and their willingness to discuss and expose to scrutiny their view on a controversial and socially relevant topic.
Wednesday evening’s debate made it clear that though the Anchorage Assembly has passed the anti-discrimination ordinance, discourse over LGBT rights and religious objection is not finished among UAA students and Anchorage community members.