Las Vegas Review-Journal

Alaska reverses LGBTQ policy

Human rights commission limits discrimina­tion complaints


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s human rights commission has reversed an earlier policy and now is only investigat­ing LGBTQ discrimina­tion complaints related to workplace discrimina­tion and not for other categories such as housing and financing.

The Anchorage Daily News and Propublica reported the Alaska

State Commission for Human Rights deleted language from its website promising equal protection­s for transgende­r and gay Alaskans against most categories of discrimina­tion. It also began refusing to investigat­e complaints.

The commission is only accepting employment-related complaints, and investigat­ors dropped non-employment LGBTQ civil rights cases they had been working on.

The body made the move last year, one year after it published new guidelines in 2021 saying Alaska’s LGBTQ protection­s extended beyond the workplace to housing, government practices, finance and “public accommodat­ion.”

The commission adopted the 2021 guidelines in response to a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling saying workplace discrimina­tion against people based on their sexual orientatio­n or gender identity was illegal.

An investigat­ion by the news organizati­ons found the reversal was requested by a conservati­ve Christian group and was made the week of the primary for governor.

The commission made the change on the advice of Attorney General Treg Taylor and announced it on its Twitter feed.

The LGBTQ advocacy nonprofit Identity Alaska called the reversal “state-sponsored discrimina­tion” and results in real-world harms.

Robert Corbisier, who has been the commission’s executive director since 2019, said the attorney general directed him to make the change. He said that Taylor said the Supreme Court case, known as Bostock v. Clayton County, was limited to employment discrimina­tion and the agency should limit its own enforcemen­t to employment matters.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy declined interview requests. In a statement, a spokespers­on said, “The Governor’s office was not involved in the Department of Law’s legal advice on LGBTQ+ discrimina­tion cases.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States