Omaha City Council Rejects LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Omaha, Nebraska has rejected an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance:

Omaha "The measure failed on a 3-3 vote. Councilman Franklin Thompson, who has called for a public vote on the issue, abstained. Councilmen Ben Gray, Pete Festersen and Chris Jerram voted in favor of the ordinance; Jean Stothert, Garry Gernandt and Thomas Mulligan were opposed. Gray, author of the ordinance, proposed that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people be a protected class under city code — protection they don't currently have under state or federal law. He amended tjhe proposal to exclude religious organizations, but members of the Omaha business community also opposed the ordinance.The council held a public hearing Tuesday on Thompson's proposal to put the issue to a public vote, in the form of an amendment to the City Charter. The vote on Thompson's measure is expected next week…Gray's ordinance would allow homosexual and transgender residents who believe they have been fired or suffered other workplace discrimination, or have been refused service at a restaurant, hotel or other place that serves the public, to file a complaint with Omaha's Human Rights and Relations Department, Assistant City Attorney Bernard in den Bosch has said."


  1. GregV says

    Actually, if that’s the way the proposal is worded (that certain people — homosexual and transgender — will be a protected class) then I would have voted it down, too.
    Any ordinance that protects the public from discrimination must protect all people equally.
    In other words, it should be worded to protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, without specifying only particular identities.
    If only homosexuals and transgenders are protected, then what happens when a bisexual gets fired and has no legal way to address the issue or a busboy gets fired from a gay bar because someone found out he was straight? I’ll tell you what would happen: We would have given the bigots a card to play to (accurately, for a change) to argue that we gays have asked for and received “special” rights.
    I know of not one place in the world where gay people have ever been given ANY special and unique right (the likes of which heterosexual Americans take for granted every day), and I don’t want to start having anything but the same rights and the same protections offered to all citizens.

  2. GregV says

    Edit: I note that in one part of the article, bisexuals are counted but in a later quote they are not. That fact already suggests confusion about who would be included.

  3. says

    Did I miss something? If a person is discriminated against, they have to see if an anti-discrimination ordinance is in place before they can press charges??? WTF ?!?! The USA is looking more and more like Iran every day….

  4. MrRoboto says

    GregV, the article is a poorly written mess. The ordinance the council voted on would have amended the Omaha Municipal Code to include “sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity” as classes protected from workplace and public accommodations discrimination. That would have protected that hypothetical straight busboy, just as protections on race protect all races (including whites), and protections on gender protect both genders, ad infinitum. The “special rights” argument is and has virtually always been a phony dodge designed to stir up those who don’t have a brain to think for themselves.

    Though I’ve never heard of a major trend in straights being fired from their jobs or denied service at a hotel for their sexuality, if Omaha does indeed put this to a vote and local citizens vote against finally granting their LGBT neighbors this simple act of decency, then I’m almost inclined to be a vengeful bitch and hope that every gay-owned business fires every single one of their straight employees. And when everyone reacts with shock, they can say: Your neighbors voted for this, welcome to my life.

  5. TANK says

    As america slowly slinks toward a third world socioeconomic breakdown, one wonders if it’s worth preventing. After all, these are the folks you’d be helping out. If so, I’d so no…let them be destroyed. They are trash, and helping trash is never worthwhile.

  6. Enzo In Omaha says

    Read on for some advice from a native on how to effectively threaten to boycott Omaha.

    Background: Omaha and Nebraska ARE backward! In 1997, the police raided a gay bar (The Run) because of nude paintings in the downstairs bar. The current AG, Jon Bruning, compared same sex marriage to a guy wanting to marry a chair. The governor, Dave Heineman, is a homophic asshole. Nebraska’s Constitutional Amendment 416 may be the most restrictive anti-gay marriage law in the U.S.

    Write emails noting that Omaha is now statistically more violent than New York City, and less progressive than Salt Lake City.

    Tell them you will lobby your professional organizations not to convene in Omaha at the Qwest Center, but across the river in at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which has gay marriage, a local gay rights ordinance, and state protection for gay people. Also casinos and a $600 million dollar brand-spanking-new Google data center.

    Hundreds (or thousands) of emails threatening a loss of convention business would REALLY freak out the city, which is facing huge cop and fireman pension deficits, $2 billion worth of EPA-mandated sewer improvements, and a quarter-billion dollar bond repayment on the Qwest Center itself.

    Send your emails to:


    Newspaper (Omaha World-Herald)

    Omaha CBS affiliate:
    Omaha NBC affiliate:
    Omaha ABC affiliate:
    Omaha Fox affiliate:

    Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, Nebraska’s biggest tourist attraction:

    College World Series (Omaha’s biggest sporting event):

  7. gregv says

    @ MrRoboto: thanks for the clarification.

    Anti-straight cases are so rare that most straight people never have to concern themselves with how it will affcat them. But when test cases come up (like when a Florida bartender was fired several years ago by new managers who wanted an all-gay staff), they prove that properly-worded anti-discrimination laws really do protect EVERYONE equally.

    I wish the media would stop inaccurately feeding into confused claims of “special treatment” by referring to such laws as protecting “homosexuals and transgenders.”

    When religion was included, nobody refered to it as “the law to give protected status to Jews” and when race was included, the media didn’t refer to “special status for blacks.”

    It’s that much harder to persuade people when you first have to go back to square one and explain to them that what they have read and heard about what the proposed law says is really not what it says at all.

  8. says

    Jean Stothert lead the anti-gay sentiment on the Omaha City Council, she was the most outspoken against on newspaper, radio and TV interviews. She claimed it would hurt business. She is also responsible for inviting a group of KC lawyers in to also take apart the legislation. yet she claims to support equal rights for all, she did nothing but offer poison to kill the bill. Here is a fake twitter account dedicated to her. Please spread it around, please follow this twitter account we don’t need her on the Council anyway.

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