Ketchikan approves anti-discrimination ordinance

    Ketchikan City Council. Top (L-R) Mark Flora, David Kiffer, Sam Bergeron and Emily Chapel. Below (L-R) Judy Zenge, Dick Coose, and Janalee Gage.

    Ketchikan, Alaska (KINY) - The Ketchikan City Council voted to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    There was over an hour of public comment on the issue.

    The ordinance bans any discrimination related to housing and public business.

    J.D. Martin told the council that social and structural inequities exist in Ketchikan that harm the LGBTQ community, "We know from the research that the LGBTQ youth has experienced more homeless, trans women have a shorter life expectancy, and we know bi-sexual women experience higher rates of intimate violence.  We need to make sure that services in this town will be available to people that need them."

    The issue came up when a same-sex couple was denied service by a local florist for their wedding ceremony.

    Heather Dalin, the owner of Heavenly Creations, defended her practices and policies.

    She told the council that they don't discriminate and have often done business with the LGBTQ community.

    She said they had to draw the line at a marriage ceremony.

    "When it comes to the holy sacrament of marriage, God's word is clear.  Marriage is one of the seven sacraments where the Lord Jesus Christ is present.  For you to pass an unnecessary ordinance to try and force myself to participate in a ceremony that violates not only God's holy truth, but also strips my rights as an American, taxpaying, law-abiding citizen, is unreasonable."




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