Nebraska Lawmaker Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Local Anti-Discrimination Ordinances

Nebraska State Senator Beau McCoy (pictured) has introduced legislation that would prohibit local municipalities across the state from enacting their own anti-discrimination ordinances. The proposed legislation conflicts with plans by an Omaha City Councilman to protect LGBT people from discrimination in that city, the World-Herald reports:

MccoyCity Councilman Ben Gray says he plans to place a measure to ban discrimination against homosexual and transgender people on the council's agenda — as early as the end of the month or by late February.

But an Omaha state senator wants to bar cities and local governments from unilaterally creating such protected classes. Instead, the bill would grant such authority solely to the state.

The conflicting proposals are likely to reignite debate about more than a municipality's rights. The conversation will center on sexual orientation, the rights of private enterprise, religion and civil rights.

Blogger Aksarbent points out that the legislation proposed by McCoy is similar to that passed last year in Tennessee, which voided an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance in Nashville.

McCoy has masked his homophobia in a claim he wants consistency in state law: "It just merely says that if we're going to change the protected classes … we need to come to the Capitol to do it so that it's consistent across the state. If it's the right thing to do, it ought to be the right thing to do border-to-border, not just in one city or municipality."

Comments

  1. deppy says

    Instead of introducing this he could have forced the entire state to have consistency by introducing legislation forcing protections for LGBT citizens. Another bigot in sheeps clothing.

  2. deppy says

    Posted the following to his facebook and he deleted it within a minute:

    “It just merely says that if we’re going to change the protected classes … we need to come to the Capitol to do it so that it’s consistent across the state. If it’s the right thing to do, it ought to be the right thing to do border-to-border, not just in one city or municipality.” – Beau McCoy, 2012State Senator McCoy,If consistency across the state is what you were aiming for, you could have introduced legislation forcing protections for LGBT citizens across the entire state of Nebraska. Instead, you are aiming to amend state law so that it actually takes away protections for LGBT citizens across specific municipalities where protections are already in place. You will be remembered as just another bigot who voted to take away protections for an already vulnerable minority group. -Michael

  3. paul says

    and the reason that the individual municipalities are moving ahead is because the State hasn’t ‘done the right thing’. He openly admits it’s the right thing to do and yet refuses to do it. It’s the reason they had to change anti-racial laws at the Federal level because States refused to do the right thing. Bugs the hell out of me everytime i hear that ‘This is best left to individual states’,,,such a lame lazy thing to say to try and hide bigotry.

  4. Javier says

    Romer v Evans says you can’t single out “sexual orientation” specifically or gays for mistreatment. In light of this decision, states have attempted to do the same by saying they are just generically capping anti-discrimination laws to state definitions. The Romer court seemed to make a big deal about Colorado calling gays out as specifically prohibited from protection, which might make all the difference in this situation where there is a generic exclusion of all groups not protected by state law.

  5. Scott Lumry says

    I agree with Jeffery. We should make his argument one of needing to be consistent across the nation. If I get married over there and it is not recognized here, it puts our government at a disadvantage. Raise this one level now and let’s make a national law that removes the discrimination against minority populations.

  6. Gregv says

    @Tony-n-SF: Romer v. Evans struck down a Colorado law that specifically singled out gay people for special “non-protection” under the law. This is a different type of case.
    I cringe when I hear talk of making us a special class for either protection or non-protection.
    The law should always just protect EVERYONE from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, race, sex, etc. It should be none of the government’s business to even know whether we are gay, straight or bi. They should just be making sure that, whatever our orientation might or might not be, it is NOT permitted to be a criteria in how we are treated.

    I don’t know of any municipality or state that has ever made “gay” a uniquely protected class (but if ever that does happen, it will feed right into right-wing claims that we want special treatment nobody else gets).
    I AM aware, as we all are, of many cases in which gay people have been singled out for special NEGATIVE treatment and NON-protection that other people have.

  7. Mike Rasor says

    Tony,
    The court in Romer relied heavily on two factors in reaching it’s decision. First the Colorado amendment by its very terms targeted only gay and lesbian people. Second, the amendment stripped gay and lesbian people from all political means of reaching policy goals without first amending the state constitution. This new batch of laws are written more broadly to prevent any group which is not a suspect class from recieving protection under local laws and they leave open the state legislative process as a means to achieve protection. In light of these facts, a court could very well find that the laws are not driven by animus and therefore constitutional under Romer.

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