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Nebraska

Nebraska governor calls for popular vote on LGBT protections ordinances

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska’s Republican Governor Dave Heineman said Tuesday that voters should have a voice on the recently enacted city ordinances that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT people.

The Lincoln, Neb., City Council May 14 approved expanding the city’s civil rights protections to include its LGBT citizens. The Lincoln ordinance covers employment, housing and public accommodations.

Dave Heineman

In March, the Omaha city council approved a similar non-discrimination ordinance that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“I think in both cases … they should put it to the vote of the people,” Heineman said, citing a recent attorney general’s opinion that says the cities would have to amend their city charters to offer such protections to groups not covered by state law.

In Lincoln, the measure is already being challenged.

Two conservative right wing christian advocacy groups said they will organize a petition drive to stop the proposal from going into effect until there is a city-wide vote on the issue, reported the Lincoln Journal-Star.

Al Riskowski, executive director of Nebraska Family Council, told the Journal-Star that his group is hoping to collect the required 2,500 signatures from registered voters by the May 29 deadline.

Under a provision of the city’s charter, the coalition has just 15 days to collect the signatures.

“We know we have over 200 petitioners out there,” and most petitions coming back have about 20 signatures, Riskowski said. “That makes us very hopeful we can get enough signatures.”

Many churches had petitions available after services last week, including all of the local Catholic churches and some Lutheran ones, he said.

Supporters of the ordinances claim that such legal protections are necessary because there is real discrimination.

Twenty-seven percent of 770 Nebraskans participating in a 2011 online survey said they had experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace in the past five years because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

But opponents claim the ordinances will require them to abandon their faith.

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27 more reader comments:

  1. I call for a popular vote on his salary, benefits, and pension.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:38pm
  2. *facepalm*

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:40pm
  3. These soulless idiots will stop at nothing to ruin our lives.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:42pm
  4. Rights should NEVER be put up to any vote.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:43pm
  5. one does not vote on rights, that is why they are called rights!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:44pm
  6. OMG!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:46pm
  7. I hate hearing stories like this. No Civil Right has been advanced by a popular vote

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:48pm
  8. Your right Carl!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:50pm
  9. RIGHTS should NOT be voted on

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:51pm
  10. So, there’s no protection for gay folks? WTF I thought we all were protected by law?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:52pm
  11. to bad the city did it he can keep hisd useless trap shut and out of it

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:56pm
  12. I call on a national vote to remove Nebraska from the union.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8:03pm
  13. Zane, you have no idea how common that misconception is. In MOST places in the US, gay and transgender citizens ARE NOT protected from discrimination in housing, employment and access to public accommodations.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8:05pm
  14. Hmm. Vote on people’s rights. What could possibly go wrong with that? Unfortunately, it’s unconstitutional. Someone needs to mail him a copy of the Romer case. Maybe we should all bury him under an avalanche of copies. . .

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8:06pm
  15. I know this is unconstitutional…so how are they able to get away with it?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8:39pm
  16. hey !! Im from Nebraska this dick might not care about the LGBT but come to my state us Nebraskans treat people right gay straight whatever Ive never had a problem and Im Gay and proud in fact the highschool I graduated from has the largest Gay Straight alliance in the U.S. look it up

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8:42pm
  17. Rob, you must be a Coloradan, hi, neighbor. I was going there myself. They haven’t forgotten Romer v. Evans, but they hope their voters never knew about it. They may also be counting on a different SCOTUS make-up to green-light it this time.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8:46pm
  18. At least the people of Nebraska will have a role in this decision rather than having a law-whichever side the law comes down on-shoved doen their throats. I think more states should have such issues put to a vote and, while they are at it,keep out of state intersts and money out of their election process.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 9:10pm
  19. This bitch needs to come out the closet…

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 9:53pm
  20. Rights should NEVER be put up to popular vote! Wtf is wrong with you?!? Yeah you asshole!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 9:54pm
  21. This isn’t a popularity contest. Rights shouldn’t be judged like a beauty contest. No surprise a brilliant Republican came up with this.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 10:24pm
  22. He needs to be removed from office.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 5:04am
  23. Agreed, this is NOT something that should be determined by popular vote.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 5:58am
  24. Face palm; I cannot fathom how it allegedly makes sense to single out a minority, place ordinances giving said minority protection from discrimination on a “popular vote” then proclaim democracy has spoken if said minority loses these protections!
    Since *when* have the rights of all people within any nation been respected without laws to protect minorities from harassment or worse and thus give them tools under law to fight back when they are treated unfairly?? This is a human condition not an issue confined to any specific country.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 7:03am
  25. Protecting people who face discrimination is an appropriate role for government – at any level. It is not appropriate to turn such efforts over to the public for a vote. The tyranny of the majority should never be allowed to determine the rights of any non-majority person or group.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 9:06am
  26. Why do I live in Nebraska? Why????

    Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 9:11am
  27. Transgenders need protection too. They face harassment and workplace bullying because of their differnces. Imagine county employees referring to transgendered people as its or things. Yes it happened in Worcester County, Maryland. Everytime I see it everyone should know about it. Our taxes pay their salaries and they should respect all people, not just a selct few with extra pennies in their pocket.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 1:34pm