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Gay Rights Ordinance Awaits One Key Vote

By   /   March 7, 2012  /   News  /   13 Comments

In the year and a half since Omaha City Hall last debated gay rights, little has changed.

Both sides are adamant about their positions. And City Councilman Franklin Thompson apparently remains the deciding vote.

In 2010 when Councilman Ben Gray first proposed changes to the city’s discrimination laws, the council deadlocked 3-3 with Thompson refusing to weigh in.

Now, following yesterday’s packed public hearing on an ordinance that allows people to file complaints with the city if they feel they are discriminated against in the work place because of their sexual orientation, Thompson appears ready to break the tie.

In the meantime those backing Gray’s amendments, such as Oscar award winning filmmaker Alexander Payne, insist it’s about equal treatment not special treatment.

Payne, who testified that in the near future similar laws will be common across the country, told the council, “My dad always taught me, ‘Do it now.'”

Some opponents claimed the changes are unnecessary, that similar laws already exist. Other opponents argued against the ordinance on religious grounds.

Ann Perkington testified that it’s a “morally bankrupt cause.”

With Mayor Jim Suttle ready to sign the changes into law, all that’s left is Thompson’s vote. It’s scheduled for Tuesday.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • GeosUser

    Councilman Franklin “All Hat, No Cattle” Thompson will cave to pressure from students and fellow faculty at UNO and vote in favor of the ordinance. That will be the last straw that removes him from office next year. He has and always been ineffective in representing his district and, with this vote, will finally be replaced so he can focus on his stellar recording career.

  • ToucheTurtle

    Once we start going down this road, making “special concessions” for select groups, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, we will end up gutting our legal system. I am NOT saying that there should not be protection in the work place against sexual discrimination of ANY kind in the workplace. I AM saying that we already have laws in place that cover that subject, and we don’t need to muddy the water by making exceptions. The law we have is either adequate and provides that protection or it doesn’t . . . and shouldn’t have ANYTHING to do with gay groups specifically!

    We’ll see what the Councilman finally does: either he will stand up for the Rule of Law, or he will slide into the cesspool of coming down on the side of the progressive agenda. One wonders what will be the deciding factor for the councilman!

  • Road Runner

    OK so let’s back up half a century. Segregationist practices allowed people to practice racism in housing sales and public accomodations. Would you two advocate against any law that said it was illegal to deny service on the basis of race? As I read what you are saying, that’s the issue. The constitution ‘protects’ human rights (except the part that counts blacks as 2/3 of a white). Now the challenge is to put the constitutional protection into place backed by the force of law.

    The Councilman is emancipated, and protected against the tyranny of the majority (like Touche and Geosuser) who are reduced to slander and schoolyard name-calling. Now it is time to take care of another abused minority.

  • Patrick

    I find it disturbing that this important vote goes to the hands of Franklin Thompsen. He is like the Lee Terry of the city council, can’t find his ass with both hands.

    If we don’t want to make special concessions to select groups “NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE” then religious institutions shouldn’t get a free ride anymore. Gays want to be treated fairly, mega churches already get special treatment.

  • Sandy

    It’s still all about power. Gays need more laws in order to have power over those that don’t have their problem. Have to equal the “playing field” somehow and can’t do it in the workplace without increasing the power to threaten & sue. Drug addicts should be rallying to this cry as well. Surely you understand that they can’t help their situation either? The turtle is right. Special concessions are a lawyer-rich way to administer rights.

  • What!?

    I’m left handed. I feel discriminated against.

    Tools are right handed; I am forced to pay more for left handed tools – – – – that’s unfair! Same for sports equipment – – – – that’s unfair!

    School desks were all right handed – – – – I was uncomfortable!

    I could go on and on . . . . . . . . we need a law.

    LEFTIES UNITE. Let’s occupy something.

  • Jane Kinsey

    Grow up, people. The law of the land is changing and trying to hold it back

    is not going to accomplish anything. What is special about being protected

    under the law? We all want that for all people even those with whom we don’t agree. If you don’t follow that premise, then the Constitution will see that you do.

    Thank the Lord that we live under it in the U.S.A..

  • Watching From Lincoln

    Simple issue with a simple solution. All men (and women) are created equal (from the Declaration of Independence). Equality for all under the law is the cornerstone of the U.S. legal system. Discrimination against anyone in the U.S. based off of race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation or disability should be strictly against the law and strictly enforced with penalties to match. Intolerance should not be tolerated, period. This is one of the most basic premises of the founding of this country: Freedom. Freedom from fear that some ignorant jackass will deny you your rights of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness as long as the exercise of those rights causes no harm to other people.

    Same sex couples should have all the rights and benefits extended to heterosexual couples, including marriage. Hate to burst the extreme right evangelical “Christians’ ” bubble, but marriage is not an act of G-d, it is, and has always been since the dawn of recorded history, a legal transaction. Go read the first 900-odd pages of the Bible. You know, the Old Testament, the part you so conveniently overlook all the time when mis-quoting or taking out of context the New Testament. “Church” weddings didn’t come along for quite a while, and when they did it was as a form of implied threat of “divine retribution” for reneging on the legal contract the two parties had entered into, sure would hate to have to return the dowry payment of the goats, gold, silks, etc. for default on the marriage contract. The fear of hellfire and eternal damnation used to help keep the ignorant in a contractual agreement, whether they wanted to be or not. So why not extend that right, with everything that comes with it, good or bad, to everyone in our society? Domestic partners should be entitled to their spouse’s insurance coverage, housing benefits, etc. That is NOT some leftist liberal position, that is the most basic of REAL Republican premises: All people are equal in this society and all are entitled to the same rights.

  • Prairie Dog

    My position is that discrimination against any class of people is where the moral bankruptcy resides. I am the Prairie Dog.

    “Good ecology is good economy”

  • SoWhat???

    All of you advocating for special “gay rights” need to answer a question. You own a retail store and your long-time employee “Bob” shows up for work now dressed as “Betty”. What do you do??? The GLBT/TFU are just inviting an over-reaction by insisting there’s a problem in search of a solution.

  • Road Runner


    If Betty dresses according to the dress code for your employees, let her go to work. If she is not adhering to the dress code, then that’s a problem – same as if Bob showed up incorrectly attired. Otherwise she should be judged on achieving objective goals and standards.

    You’re the one over-reacting. These are not ‘special’ gay rights. They are HUMAN RIGHTS.

  • SoWhat???

    “HUMAN RIGHTS” by all means let’s ensure special protections for whole class of mental deviants and the “employment attorneys” who already have discrimination suits ready for filing. If Suttle hadn’t made promises to former staff members and the UNO GLBT/TFU activists for the recall, this issue would never have surfaced again. Put to a vote of Omaha residents, this would fail 75% to 25%. These deviants don’t need special legal protections, they need treatment for their mental defects.

  • ToucheTurtle

    Once AGAIN . . . . “we already have laws in place that cover that subject, and we don’t need to muddy the water by making exceptions. The law we have is either adequate and provides that protection OR it doesn’t . . . and shouldn’t have ANYTHING to do with gay groups specifically!” I didn’t really think my basic premise was too hard to understand, but maybe it was.

    My point is If the laws IN NEBRASKA are adequate to protect our population from discrimination of ANY kind, then we don’t NEED to add clutter to the already-difficult-to-understand masses of laws already on the books! If those laws are NOT adequate, then they should be changed to protect our citizens . . . ALL of them!! This is what has happened in Washington, and quite frankly there is a BIG mess back there because of it!

    What is the point of making “exceptions”? It is to put a specified group or organization OUTSIDE the very law that the rest of the citizens are expected to obey . . .just how many ways and how many time do we need to say “no discrimination” before the subject is regulated into oblivion?”