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Nebraska’s capital city to consider LGBT fairness ordinance

Friday, April 20, 2012
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LINCOLN, Neb. — The city council in Lincoln, Neb., is expected to consider a “fairness ordinance” that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s non-discrimination law.

Councilmen Carl Eskridge said he plans to introduce the measure on April 30, which would would bar discrimination against gays and transgender people in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

“This is an issue of fundamental fairness in terms of how we treat a segment of our population in Lincoln,” said Eskridge.

“If passed Lincoln would join the list of over 200 other cities that have protections in place for the LGBTQ community,” he said, adding that he has “the full support of Mayor Chris Beutler, and enough support from the seven member council to adopt the measure.”

Although Lincoln was the first city in Nebraska to have a human rights organization, people in Lincoln who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered still face significant barriers, according to Tyler Richard, President of Outlinc, Lincoln’s LGBT community center.

“We want to keep Lincoln’s tradition of standing up for fairness,” he told LGBTQ Nation.

According to a 2011 poll, 73 percent of Nebraskans oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Eskridge said he doesn’t expect to see as much controversy that occurred in Omaha last month, where more than 100 people spoke against that city’s proposed non-discrimination measure, including filmmaker Alexander Payne and Nebraska assistant football coach Ron Brown.

A public hearing on the ordinance is expected to occur May 7, followed by a vote by the council on May 14.

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