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Bruning says he opposes gay rights ordinance

By   /   May 8, 2012  /   16 Comments

Late today the leading Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate said he personally opposes the gay rights ordinance passed in Omaha and being considered in Lincoln.

Attorney General Jon Bruning refused to answer Nebraska Watchdog’s inquiry about his personal position on the issue for four days, until today, when his campaign manager, Trent Fellers, finally responded saying, “In addition to it being unconstitutional, he doesn’t support it.”

Both state Sen. Deb Fischer and State Treasurer Don Stenberg told Nebraska Watchdog on Friday that they oppose the ordinances, which protect gay and transgendered people from discrimination.

Bruning has been accused of politicizing the issue by issuing an attorney general’s opinion last week that Lincoln and Omaha are violating state statutes by passing such ordinances. Omaha Councilman Ben Gray and some Lincoln city officials implied that Bruning’s legal analysis was politically motivated, with an eye toward nabbing conservative Republican votes on Tuesday.

Assistant Attorney General Dale Comer drafted the opinion in consultation with Bruning and other attorneys in his office, according to Bruning’s spokeswoman.

However, some political observers question whether Bruning personally opposes the legislation, given the fact that he is a member of a well-known progressive Lincoln church, First Plymouth whose senior pastor, the Rev. Jim Keck, has publicly supported Lincoln’s ordinance. The church has a group called Plymouth Pride that is concerned with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered issues.

Gray said during Lincoln’s public hearing on the ordinance Monday that Bruning’s opinion was a “red herring,” noting that Sen. Beau McCoy asked for the opinion on Wednesday and received it the very next day.

“I think the conflict lies in the attorney general’s office,” Gray said. “Do we really think they offered an opinion that quickly? Do we really think that… this is something other than some sort of political issue that someone is trying to raise to thwart us or throw us off the path?”

The timing of the opinion was certainly speedy: The head of the Nebraska Family Council told Nebraska Watchdog on Wednesday that it expected an attorney general’s opinion that day or Thursday. But when contacted by Watchdog about that possibility on Wednesday, McCoy said he knew nothing about a pending attorney general’s opinion.

But when the opinion was released Thursday, the document said the request for it came from McCoy. The Nebraska Family Council can’t request an attorney general’s opinion, but state lawmakers can. McCoy said today that he asked for the opinion later Wednesday and received it the next day.

That’s a quick turnaround: Stenberg said he waited nine months for an opinion from Bruning’s office.

McCoy said today that nobody asked him to ask for the attorney general’s opinion. He said he and his staff just decided it was an issue they would continue to work on in the interim after he failed to get a bill passed this session restricting cities from passing such ordinances. McCoy also said he didn’t believe the timing of Bruning’s opinion had anything to do with the upcoming election.

“I don’t think it has any relevance at all,” McCoy said.

Reported by Deena Winter, deena@nebraskawatchdog.org.

By: TwitterButtons.com

Editor’s note: to subscribe free of charge to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog click here.


Deena formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Watching From Lincoln

    Want to know where Bribery Bruning really stands on this, Deena? Go back to his days at UNL and start digging, it’s all there. Some of us still remember what he wrote and who he associated with back then, even if old B.B. wishes that that chapter of his life didn’t exist and he could just lie it away.

  • Clive

    Getting tired of this blog vicious reporting. Why don’t we talk about the issues facing our country instead of this garbage. Pete Ricketts should be ashamed of himself for funding this blog.

  • John

    Bruning doesn’t have to say where he stands on the subject. He offered an opinion based on state and federal Constitutional guidelines.

    He lives in Bellevue and that takes him out of both jurisdictions. So, if all of you who want something of this nature passed, get together and write up somethoing that doesn’t conflict. Do your homework and stiop whining.

    This country has over 50% of the world’s attorneys. You should be able to dig up at least an intelligent one.

  • Gerry Manderlay

    The question is where do gays stand regarding Bruning? Behind him? Maybe a few who like the beady eyes and puffy cheeks…. When we look at this three way between Jon, Don and Deb – whose positions do we feel most comfortable with? So hard to discern who is who. And, as they all sound mostly the same- spewing forth regurgitated talking points, they actually seem to be more like that movie The Human Centipede. And now the Republic descends like the Titanic…. striking an iceberg of hyper-partisanship and puppetry by financiers… So it goes.

  • Truth-or-Dare

    Some people are mad because the AG isn’t quick enough, others complain he is too quick; some say he is too successful and financially gained from having an unfair advantage; others say he is an honest guy, still others say he is as crooked as a snake;some say he doesn’t spend enough time in the office, others say he is a diligent guy and does the job. . . what is the REAL problem here?

    If the AG was giving an opinion in FAVOR of the ordinances, I can assure you that nobody would be saying a word . . . the screamers and the criers would be at home look for their next big cause. So it is not surprising that the unhappy petitioners are calling for him be torn limb from limb, and talking about how “terrible” his record is! Unfortunately, it is his JOB to interpret what the law is and stand by what it is determined to say, whether we LIKE it or not! Eventually unlawful stretches of the law by cities in our fair state will eventually be heard before a high court, the judgement will come down, and it will be decided once and for all!!! So alas, it is true you can please some of the people some of the time, and you are damned no matter what you do for the rest of the people the rest of the time!!!

    No one person will ever be able to give his/her PERSONAL opinion about a subject without causing an uproar among the natives! Quite frankly, what his/her personal opinion is does not concern me as much as if he/she has integrity and will try to fairly represent ALL of the opinions of those he/she is elected to represent!! Isn’t THAT the bottom line: we just want a person who will be open-minded enough most of the time to listen to all points of view and then make decisions upon what is best for those being represented. The important thing to remember is that they are human, they will make mistakes just like WE do, and there must be room for a measure of empathy in all of us, remembering that we live in a republic where the majority of the people make decisions for ALL the people!.

    After all our officials are elected on behalf of ALL the people, they are paid on behalf of all the people, and ultimately they will be held accountable for the job they do FOR the people . . . PERIOD!!!

  • Truth-or-Dare

    And by the way, any day of the week that the nay-sayers out there want to, they can take their happy little tush down, pay the fees and run for the office themselves . . . . . let’s see how many of you have the fortitude to step up to the plate and put yourself out there for what has to be a tough job! You can either keep whining and causing a stink, or you can suck it up and help solve the problem – YOUR choice!!!

  • Liars need good memories

    Get serious. Kerrey when he was at UNL voted against a resolution urging student organizations to desegregate, and was condemned by the student council for selling student discount cards for his own personal profit. And his dealings as Governor were spectacularly sleazy. And then he got on the US Senate Ag committee and started insider trading cattle futures.

    Bruning would need a quarter century just to catch up with all of Kerrey’s sleaze.

  • Clive

    Clearly this is a hit job story by watchdog. Bruning’s position has been widely reported by other media outlets. He just issued an opinion on it last week.

  • Ronnie

    How is it that Deena is the only one of all “reporters” in Nebraska who can’t understand that the Attorney General’s opinion last week means he doesn’t agree with the ordinance?

  • http://nebraskawatchdog resistwemuch

    Regarding Kerrey, how many remember him and Debra Wingert and her solo use of the State Town Car. A female reporter was naive enough to believe she could present an unbiased story about the fiasco. She soon learned the hard way you don’t mess with powers to be. Her tenure at the Omaha TV station was promptly severed and she had to leave town to find work. Also, John DeCamp’s book about the Franklin Credit Union scandal provides further insight into Mr. Kerrery’s political forays while in office in Nebraska.

    I suggest someone develop a pool at $l.00 a chance to guess how many hours after Kerrey loses his bid for the senate until he flees the state.

  • Truth-or-Dare

    I have very little confidence that he will be HERE to flee!!!!! After all, he can’t even decide where his REAL address is so maybe he will have time to figure that out in short order!

  • Matter of Judgement

    John, you might want to do your own homework – Bruning lives in Lincoln not Bellevue. Just like all the other issues Bruning won’t talk about: voting for tax increase while State Senator, writing a letter in support of Eric “Fast & Furious” Holder, and on, and on – he won’t answer this question either. Seems to me he has another BIG problem on his hands his own pastor supports the gay rights ordinance!

  • Ronnie

    Whoa Matter of Judgement, you sound more like Don or his sidekick Dan who’s alias should be ‘Terrible Judgment’ for listening to their vicious and false attacks.

    The Attorney General’s office already put out an opinion what more do you and Deena want?

  • watchdogfan

    Hmmmmmmmmm…..Some people just don’t like to hear the truth about Jon. I didn’t know this article was about Kerry. I thought it was about the three Republicans running for Senate.

  • @Watchdogfan

    The story is really just a bunch of white noise that non one cares about. But that’s to be expected for a publication that publishes stories like the “phantom poll” report last week and this one that earlier today claimed Jon Bruning didn’t take a position on the gay rights ordinance when his office put out an opinion last week.

    Why can’t they focus on issues that people actually care about? EG: the debt, jobs, the economy, student loans

  • Deena Winter

    So you’re saying all legal opinions published by the attorney general’s office reflect Jon’s personal opinions and we should just assume that is the case?