In this June 2016 file photo, Juneau residents attend a vigil at Marine Park. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this June 2016 file photo, Juneau residents attend a vigil at Marine Park. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: Why would Alaska want to erode the rights of LGBTQ?

  • By Lin Davis
  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019 7:00am
  • Opinion

Today, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson and the State of Alaska angle to infringe on LGBTQ employment rights nationwide.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases where LGBTQ people were fired or denied employment simply for being who they are. We learned that in August Alaska signed a Friend of the Court brief on behalf of the employers seeking to deny employment to LGBTQ citizens. This comes as we learn about other extreme actions by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s attorney general, Kevin Clarkson.

All polls show the majority of Americans want LGBTQ people protected from employment discrimination. All communities are harmed when some of us are denied jobs and cannot support our families.

Why would the State of Alaska have a business interest in convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that LGBTQ are no longer protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? Why would this effort become a work priority for our Alaska attorney general?

Please check in today to see what arguments issue from the employers’ attorneys.

I wonder what arguments Clarkson will highlight for the justices? Will he echo Alliance Defending Freedom’s talking points? ADF has been hard at work in Alaska. Check out their recent work on behalf of Hope Center Shelter in Anchorage. Now there are no homeless services for transgender people at downtown Hope Center.

I attended Clarkson’s confirmation hearing. He was reminded about his decades of service to ADF and his highly controversial activities. He reassured the committee that, if confirmed as AG, he would focus on working for the rights of all Alaskans. His prior extreme positions would not be part of his new job.

Fifty Friend of the Court briefs have been filed urging the Supreme Court not to roll back LGBTQ employment protections. One hundred cities, states and counties along with labor unions, former Bush Administration officials, religious leaders, 150 members of Congress, and former RNC chair, Richard Mehlman urge SCOTUS to protect LGBTQ people through Title VII.

Why would Alaska want to erode the rights of LGBTQ? Why would Alaska have a business need to harm LGBTQ Alaskans?

• Lin Davis resides in Juneau. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.

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