Proposition 5, Anchorage Gay Rights Initiative, Rejected By Voters

Voters rejected by a wide margin on Tuesday an Anchorage, Alaska, ballot proposition that would have extended citywide anti-discrimination protections to sexual orientation and transgender identity.

According to city returns with 97.5 percent of precincts reporting, Proposition 5 was failing by about a 58 - 42 margin.

The vote Tuesday had problems. Election officials ran out of ballots in multiple precincts due to what one official described as an "unprecedented number of voters." As such, final results may be days or weeks away, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Voters were also choosing a mayor and voting on other ballot initiatives.

The initiative had bipartisan support from several prominent current and former Alaska elected officials.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted in favor of the proposition, telling the Alaska Dispatch, "I think this is overdue and we make sure that within this community that there’s no discrimination and there’s no tolerance for any discrimination at all." She also voted to end the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in December 2010. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) also supported the measure.

Former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles and former Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Arliss Sturgulewski chaired One Anchorage, which advocated passage of the measure.

The group One Anchorage released a statement Wednesday saying that the group was "disappointed at the interim election results" but "could not be prouder of the honest campaign we ran."

"While the vote totals released to date indicate that Prop 5 did not receive sufficient votes to become law, we know our long-term journey towards full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Alaskans will one day -- and soon -- become a reality," reads the statement.

Jim Minnery, president of the Alaska Family Council, called the results "extremely gratifying" but said it was no time to "rest on our laurels."

An ad by Protect Anchorage alleging that a daycare owner could be "fined or imprisoned" for not hiring a "transvestite" was denounced by Knowles and One Anchorage.

A similar ordinance passed the Anchorage Assembly in 2009 but was vetoed by Mayor Dan Sullivan. Sullivan won election Tuesday by a similar margin that Proposition 5 lost by. Sullivan's father, the former Anchorage Mayor George Sullivan, vetoed a similar proposal in 1976.

Alaska does not have a statute prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Same-sex marriage is banned under the state's constitution. Public but not private employees are protected against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

This article has been updated to groups' responses.