It was heartening to see Tuesday's Juneau Empire story about the unanimous Juneau Assembly vote to oppose amending the Alaska Constitution to discriminate against same-sex couples. The advisory proposition is bad for Juneau and bad for Alaska. It is vital for everyone who agrees with the Assembly to get out and vote no in the April 3 advisory-vote election.
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The lead paragraph of the Empire story suggested gays are the only ones with something at stake in the proposed benefits ban. But the Assembly recognized that this is an important issue for all of Juneau and all Alaskans. The benefits ban would distort the Alaska Constitution to require all city governments, state agencies, the university system and every other public employer to deny the principle of equal pay for equal work.
Institutions like the University of Alaska would be forced to take benefits away from employees who have earned them. Public agencies would be denied the ability to recruit quality employees on the basis on equal pay for equal work. Our health care sector would be further burdened because health benefits would be taken away from people who have worked for them.
Alaskans want and need to address the gas line, a crisis in energy costs, the effects of global trends on our seafood industry and other tough issues. The benefits-ban proposition on the advisory vote would move us backward to a day when minorities were treated as second-class citizens.
The way to keep Alaska on track is to vote no on April 3.
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