Common Sense Prevailed
The latest election results for Proposition 5 represents the triumph of common sense over cash. The other side had tons of cash -- more than $350,000. That is a shocking amount of money to be spent on a local ballot initiative. This gave them nearly a 4 to 1 advantage over our side in money.
But we had common sense on our side, and it resonated with voters. There are still ballots remaining to be counted in the coming days and weeks. But for right now, the NO side enjoys a lead of nearly 9,000 votes, which represents a margin of 58% to 42% among ballots that have been tallied so far. The defeat of Proposition 5 means Anchorage remains a free city, where most people practice "authentic" tolerance. Authentic tolerance means we don't try to use the force of law to coerce people into endorsing behavior or viewpoints they disagree with.
We are deeply grateful for the political and religious leaders who had the courage to stand with us and speak the truth about Proposition 5. We are humbled and grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who engaged on this issue in every possible way. I think we've set an example for how to defeat these laws in other cities and states, and that is very encouraging to me.
Given the margin by which Proposition 5 was defeated, some casual observers might be tempted to think the measure was doomed to failure from the start. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Over the last several months, various polls showed Proposition 5 winning by anywhere from 10 to 20 points. The "One Anchorage" group started planning and organizing their campaign more than a year ago, whereas our side began campaigning in earnest only 2 months ago. We faced an enormously difficult struggle to raise the needed funds, and we faced serious headwinds trying to defeat a measure that would be titled, on each person's ballot, "The Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative." Needless to say, that ballot title was not a neutral description of what Proposition 5 proposed to do, since gays and lesbians already enjoy equal rights under the law, just like the rest of us.
Although this victory is extremely gratifying, there is no time to "rest on our laurels." Proposition 5 was an important battle, but it was just one battle in a larger war. More battles will come. We fully expect the other side will try to place this question before voters again. So today we rest, but tomorrow we begin preparing for the next engagement.
At the same time, we will also continue to seek out opportunities to dialogue with those we disagree with, in a manner that binds rather than tears apart.