Last edited: December 05, 2004


Letter: South Africa Leads Way

Anchorage Daily News, October 13, 1998
P. O. Box 149001, Anchorage, AK 99514-9001
Fax: 907-258-2157

Last Friday, The Juneau Empire reported that the highest court in South Africa struck down the last laws that criminalized sex between people of the same gender. In fact, gay rights have been protected by the (South African) Constitution since 1994. South Africa is the first country on earth to protect gay rights in its constitution.

This is the same South Africa that systemically and ruthlessly discriminated against and murdered people based on their skin color for decades. This is the same South Africa that viciously brutalized some parts of its population because it was different. This is the same South Africa that was the scorn and ridicule of the rest of the world.

This is the same South Africa that turned around and said, "What we did was wrong." This is the same South Africa that has made it a national priority to fix what happened through its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For once, freedom has come to that country for all its citizens regardless of their race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.

Now Alaska wants to enshrine discrimination based on sexual orientation in its own constitution. It wants to prevent people who love each other from marrying forever just because they may not be one man and one woman. While we’re at it, why don’t we amend the constitution so that we’re the new "old South Africa" so that only white, rich, ultra-conservative Christians have any rights. Then we can suffer from a worldwide embargo and trade sanctions, color wars just outside of town and hate crimes on every corner.

Won’t that just be fun?

Don’t be fooled. It isn’t fun. If South Africa can move radically forward toward equality and freedom, then Alaskans certainly don’t want to go backward. Let’s not start down the wrong path; encourage everyone to vote no on Ballot Measure Number 2.

— Michael Ray Wilson, Anchorage

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