The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly on Tuesday narrowly overturned Borough Mayor Rodney Dial’s veto of a resolution asking the state Legislature to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity throughout Alaska. The veto override passed by the minimum needed margin of 5-2.
The Assembly passed the resolution in a 6-1 vote at its Aug. 17 regular meeting, but Dial vetoed the measure on the grounds that it would violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment and that it would lead to “Christian persecution in our community.”
Assembly Member Susan Pickrell maintained her nay vote from that Aug. 17 meeting, while Assembly Member Alan Bailey switched his stance from that meeting to vote against the override, expressing concerns about the constitutionality of the resolution.
More than two hours of public comment preceded the vote on the override, almost all of which was focused on the proposal.
Vice Mayor AJ Pierce wrote the original resolution with Assembly Member Sven Westergard
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the Assembly approved two rezone requests from Trevor Sande. The rezones will allow the land at the 700 block of D1 Loop Road off the North Tongass Highway to be used for the development of a condominium and will allow a parcel of land at 15639 North Tongass Hwy. to be used for “commercial/tourism uses.”
As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Assembly had just decided to enter a work session to discuss uses of the borough’s portion of federal coronavirus relief funds.
Further coverage of Tuesday’s meeting, including public and Assembly comment on the discrimination resolution, will be published in a future edition of the Daily News.