Conservative Group Wants Public Vote on Omaha’s LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

"Pro-family" and Tea Party-aligned groups in Nebraska are doing their best to do away with any LGBT non-discrimination ordinances that are passed in the state, Aksarbent reports:

BonnettIn May, after Omaha adopted an LGBT anti-bias ordinance, the Lincoln City Council did the same, on a 5-0 vote with the two Republican councilmen abstaining. The Nebraska Family Council and Family First of Nebraska immediately gathered 2500 petitions to halt implementation of the law, requiring the city council to either let the ordinance die or put it on the ballot. Petitions were gathered at every Catholic church in Lincoln and four times the required number of signatures were collected.

     Last week, a petition request with the City of Omaha to put the city's anti-bias law to a popular vote was filed by a group calling itself the Omaha Liberty Project. The organization includes a board member of the Nebraska Family Council, William Femi Awodele; its leader is a local Tea Party activist, Patrick Bonnett (pictured), owner of Encore Financial Services, Inc. of Omaha.

     Omaha legal officials are reviewing the proposed petition. If it is approved and attracts enough signatures, the council will have the option to enact or reject a petition-led proposal within 30 days of receiving it. Should the council not enact the proposal, it would go to a public vote during the next scheduled city election.

More at Aksarbent


  1. Francis says

    Social conservatives are really, really pathetic. They just won’t stop their assault on our community. They’re clearly desperate in stopping the advancements we have made in society. That’s all this is. They want to go back and maintain the days where hating and discriminating against LGBT citizens was the norm. Unfortunately, in Nebraska, we’re in for a tough fight and there is a realistic chance this ordinance will be done away with.

    Ironic how the people who talk so much about sharing “God’s love” with all people show so little of it towards an entire community solely because of our orientation/gender identity.

  2. Tom in long beach says

    These people really need to read the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25 -37) “who is my neighbor ?” Self righteous hypocrites! The catholic church needs to loose it’s tax exempt status when it is so politically involved. Same church that started the crusades and smuggled Nazis out of Europe at the end of WWII.

  3. Jack M says

    The phrase “liberty and justice for all” has no meaning for these people, although they will say the Pledge of Allegiance at any opportunity and truly think they believe and practice every word. Their ignorance is breathtaking.

  4. john patrick says

    My immediate gut reaction to any organization with the words “Family” or “Liberty” in its title, is that it is neither pro family nor pro liberty. “Family” is often a code-word for anti-GLBT, as is the word “Liberty.” “Family” often means “straight family headed by man and woman only.” “Liberty” often means “license for religious group to keep or wrest civil liberties from LGBT citizens.”

    By the way, Roman Catholic bishops and some priests, many of them deep in the closet, have been opponents of any civil rights for LGBT people since at least the seventies. They seem to think that by strongly opposing the rights of LGBT people, no one will be able to see through their facade.

  5. Frank says

    Can we please stop pretending that the Tea Baggers are anything other than racist homophobes who use their religion to batter “others” over the heads. Yes they might like low taxes and less government but they like telling you how to live your life a whole lot more.

  6. says

    PS :
    our focus must be on keeping the SCOTUS progressive.
    So Obama must be reelected and Hillary must win in 2016 and 2020.
    With the Supreme Court purged of those vile right wing nuts, Scalia,Thomas, Alito, we will strike down these stupid voted-on ordinances which are manifestly unconstitutional.

  7. Juliet says

    When I spoke to the Omaha city council, I told them about doing research on the Omaha ordinance, reading perspectives in the Omaha World Herald and KETV. And over and over and over again, I witnessed opponents referring to me and my family as as freaks, perverts, a danger to children, telling me I need to be “fixed”, that being gay is “morally deviant”.

    These themes recur over and over again among all opponents, and were reiterated verbally by opponents speaking before the city council. Opponents comments were captured in the live transcript (archived here: ), I’ve excerpted some selected statments from opponents (here: ).

    Remember, the people who believe that are potential employers, business people, coworkers. Its absolutely clear that these people oppose the ordinance because they believe LGBT people *should* be discriminated against, they oppose the ordinance to allow them to purposefully harm and disenfranchise LGBT people. And that’s EXACTLY why we need these anti-discrimination ordinances.

    This is not an issue of “religious freedom”. When I spoke to the Omaha city council to pass the ordinance, here’s what I saw:
    1) supporters outnumbered the opposition 2:1
    2) supporters spoke for about 2 hours, and about 95% of people speaking in favor were members of numerous churches in town.
    3) numerous clergymen representing the Heartland Proclamation, an organization representing 250+ clergymen in the midwest who support LGBT protections and inclusion as equals to their heterosexual counterparts, spoke in favor of the ordinance.
    4) we had speakers representing PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and several other LGBT groups her in Omaha, these groups hold meetings in churches, and most or all of the board members are Christian.
    5) that’s not even getting into the Nebraska Medical Center researchers, Omaha attorneys, and representatives from the Human Rights Council representing the secular support for the ordinance.

    The case supporting the anti-discrimination ordinance was flawless. It should have passed in Omaha 7-0, but instead squeaked by 4-3 instead. I’m thankful the Lincoln ordinance passed unaminously. I’m thinking the Lincoln councilmen couldn’t stop laughing after this testimony:

  8. jamal49 says

    Petitions being collected and signed at local Catholic churches? Is it not time to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Catholic church and any protestant church who uses its facilities to support or solicit support for ballot initiatives?

    Was it not enough for a representative city council to vote the will of the people and enact the ordinance for non-discrimination?

    Do we need any further proof that christians are simply spiteful, hateful, bigoted, anti-democratic cretins who will forever disrupt and obstruct any effort towards civil equality for 10% of America’s citizens?

    I, for one, have had enough of these people.

  9. says

    There does appear to be some talk from some underground activists, especially in Omaha, who wish to publish the 10,000 signatures gained against the Lincoln ordinance. They are anxious to get them published in the hopes of deterring people from signing the Omaha anti- LGBT petition drive. The Lincoln City Clerk is in charge of holding those signatures, their number is 402-441-7436. If a number of people nationwide called and inquired about publishing those signatures, it would definitely raise some concerns to those who would sign an anti-LGBT petition. Eye-opening…. I, for one, hope to be standing next to any petitioners with a sign that says, “All Petition Signatures Get Published!!!” LOL

  10. JMHjr says

    Thanks for this blog and folks’ comments. I have just come to Omaha after 6 years building a business in Washington. I was buoyed in my decision by the ordinance. I will not be deterred by the fanatical backlash that I witnessed at St Robert’s Church yesterday. The presiding priest, a Fr Michael, during the mass announced the petition to rescind the ordinance in the name of “religious liberty.” He asked all present to sign. By the time I got over the shock and moved to the vestibule many had already signed. I asked what thought he gave to the message this announcement and action gave to the people present, most who defer to his authority.(the offense it gives, the message of Jesus, the confusion for GLBT children) He responded that it was approved by the Church and that the Church does not condone homosexuality as proscribed by scripture. (Actually, the Church has pronounced in a document written by the council of Catholic bishops that sexual orientation is “more or less innate” and the “our” children who have a homosexual orientation should loved, heard and protected. Jesus, himself, had nothing to say about the matter except to model love and acceptance of the “least.) He told me if I disagreed with the Church that I could leave it, that homosexual “acting out” is not acceptable. I asked what that had to do with my basic orientation, the Church’s teaching on its moral neutrality and why he would spend more energy defending the church than safe-guarding the children in the pews who may come away from worship feeling they are flawed just for who they are. They will be hearing more from. I assure you.

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