Nebraska lawmakers to hear bills to expand LGBT rights



LINCOLN, Neb. — Lawmakers are preparing to hear three bills on Thursday aimed at expanding rights for its LGBT residents.

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee will hear testimony Thursday on legislation that would stop discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, and extend rights to people seeking to adopt or provide foster care to a child.

Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad introduced a bill that would prevent businesses from discriminating against current or prospective employees based on their sexual orientation or marital status. Religious groups would not have to comply with the bill.

Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers introduced a similar bill in 2007, but lawmakers failed to pass the measure.

The two other bills deal with foster care and adoption.

A bill by Omaha Sen. Sara Howard would allow any two unmarried adults, including gay couples, to adopt a child.

Another bill by Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist would allow unmarried heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, and transgender people to become foster parents.

Over the last year, gay rights have been a contentious issue in Omaha, Lincoln and Grand Island, where city councils have supported local bans on discrimination against gays and transgender people. Omaha and Grand Island approved discrimination bans.

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