Lincoln, Nebraska Passes LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance 5-0; ‘Pro-Family’ Groups Plan to Block It

Two Republicans abstained as five City Council Democrats voted yesterday to approve an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in Lincoln, Nebraska, Nebraska Watchdog reports:

LincolnThe ordinance protects gay and transgendered people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation.

Opponents now have 15 days to decide whether to refer the ordinance to the people if they can gather about 2,500 signatures.  Family First Nebraska and the Nebraska Family Council have vowed to attempt such a referendum.

The two Republicans – Adam Hornung and Jon Camp – cited Attorney General Jon Bruning’s recent legal opinion that extending civil rights protection to a class not named in state statute must done via a charter amendment, which must go to a vote of the people. That opinion mirrored a Lincoln city attorney’s opinion in the early 1980s, and the subsequent charter amendment failed at the polls.

But the Democrats on the council said the current city attorney, Rod Confer, has issued a new legal opinion that the city has the right to enact such legislation by ordinance.

Blogger Aksarbent has a whole set of videos from the proceedings.

The Nebraska Family Council is working feverishly to block the measure before it can take effect:

The measure takes effect in 15 days, unless foes gather enough signatures on a referendum petition to force a public vote.

That's just what they intend to do, said the Rev. Al Riskowski, executive director of the Nebraska Family Council…Riskowski said referendum workers will circulate petitions at a number of the city's major churches this weekend. He said he expects to easily gather sufficient signatures to block the ordinance.