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Grand Island, Nebraska Rejects LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance; Councilman Does Not Want 'Gay-Friendly' City


The Grand Island, Nebraska City Council last night rejected an ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Omaha World-Herald reports:

GrandislandThe council voted 8-2 against the proposal after rejecting separate amendments that would have postponed a decision for 30 days and placed the ordinance before voters.

The measure would have made it illegal to fail to hire or promote based on sexual orientation.

The proposal also would have outlawed failing to rent or sell a house to gays, lesbians, bisexual or transgender people, or failing to wait on people in any business in the city due to their sexual orientation.

Councilman Larry Carney said he proposed the ordinance because “fair play and justice do count.'' Carney said Grand Island should not be a place that tolerates discrimination.

But Councilman Mitch Nickerson said the city of about 50,000 should not be a “gay-friendly'' city. He said the ordinance was in opposition to city morals.

Watch a report from NCN while the hearing was still underway, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Grand Island, Nebraska Rejects LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance; Councilman Does Not Want 'Gay-Friendly' City" »

Gay Friendly Council Man Hangs Up On 'Silly' Homophobic Radio Host

BengrayOmaha City Councilman Ben Gray was not having right wing radio host Tom Becka's "silliness" during a recent debate about the Nebraska city's LGBT-inclusive anti-bias laws, laws Gray successfully lobbied to passage. Becka claims those laws are unnecessary because, according to either his willful ignorance or desire to be a Limbaugh-like blowhard, discrimination doesn't exist.

Despite mountains of evidence presented during hearings on the law, Becka claims, "You have no proof, there's no evidence of people losing their jobs because of their sexuality."

Here is more of that conversation, via AKSARENT:

Becka: ...There are people with agendas and politicians that will use it for votes when the reality is there's not a problem. There's all sorts of laws that are passed all the time by both sides, the left and the right of feel-good legislation, of laws that aren't necessary but because somebody has an agenda and some special group wants to get something through even though there's no need for the law. I mean, you'd agree with that, right?

Gray: Not necessarily, no. I mean that there's things that go on because people have different agendas. They do it all the time, but... I didn't do this because I have a specific agenda.

Becka: But yet you have no proof, there's no evidence of people losing their jobs because of their sexuality.

Gray: Yeah, there's been proof and documentation that was presented at the public hearing.

Becka: Well, how many? ...[When] the other side isn't there to defend themselves, I'm not sure that qualifies, do you?

Gray: You know... we passed a law... There has been documentation that there is discrimination that exists. It exists at all levels from the time you're a child to the time you're an adult. That has been documented and pointed out by several studies and several organizations. So, to assume that it doesn't exist would be purely... it would be stupid, quite frankly, because there's enough evidence that says that it is.

Becka: ...It [discrimination] doesn't stop with the government forcing something on businesses.

Gray: Well, most businesses already have it as a policy...

Becka: Well then, why do you need the law?

Gray: For those that don't.

Becka: Because we can't allow people to make their own free choices?

Becka then tries to push the argument into a more extreme direction, claiming that if people like Gray believe in anti-discrimination laws, they should start advocating for overweight or unattractive people, at which point Gray says Becka is being too "silly" and hangs up, like any person with common sense would do.

Here is a link to the audio, which begins around the 3:55 mark, if you want to take a listen for yourself.

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...

Nebraska Woman Who Said She Was Attacked, Cut at Home to Be Charged with Faking Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Charlie Rogers, a Lincoln, Nebraska woman who said late last month that three men broke into her home, tied her up, carved 'dyke' into her stomach and the tried to set her home ablaze will be charged with fabricating the attack, NBC News reports:

RogersPolice said they interviewed Rogers on four separate occasions. Now, police said, because of inconsistences in her various accounts of the attack and forensic DNA evidence, a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

There was no apparent struggle in the room where Rogers said she was attacked on her bed, the warrant for her arrest says, which also described the bedspread as appearing “neat” and “evenly placed on the bed.”

“There was no apparent blood on the bedspread; even though Ms. Rogers reported she was rolled on to her stomach after she had been cut on her arms, abdomen, chest and front legs while being held down.”

Forensic tests of Rogers’ bedding at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found no traces of blood.

Additionally, the FBI sent photos of the cuts on Rogers to a coroner’s physician for Lancaster County, who consulted with Dr. Michelle Elieff, a forensic pathologist. According to the warrant, Elieff said Rogers’ cuts appeared to be self-inflicted.

Other evidence did not hold up either. Police are expected to arrest Rogers today.

Said Rogers in an interview shortly after the alleged attack, which prompted vigils which hundreds of people attended:

"The idea that people think it's a lie is so hurtful. It's understandable. Intellectually I understand that people have a hard time wrapping their heads around what happened. So do I. But I'm a person, with feelings, with concerns. It's just feels like a punch in the stomach. Like a betrayal, instead of the focus being on safety, healing...I'm not a pawn in a game. I'm a person."

UPDATE: Rogers has been arrested.

Charlie Rogers was arrested after meeting with investigators Tuesday afternoon. The Omaha World-Herald reports Rogers appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to the charge of false reporting. Her attorney, Brett McArthur, told the paper “To go through such a tramatic (sic) experience as she has been through and now be accused of a crime has made this even more difficult.”


Once Again, Bob Kerrey Bucks the Nebraska Tide for Gay Rights, Marriage Equality

NYT columnist Frank Bruni talks to Bob Kerrey, the Nebraska Democrat who in 1996 as Senator made a politically perilous vote to oppose DOMA when others in his party refused to stand up to it. He's doing it again in 2012 in his revived bid for the U.S. Senate with a pitch for marriage equality he's not shy to discuss even if it might be politically inexpedient.

KerreyWrites Bruni from Omaha:

Gay marriage isn’t his primary issue. I just happened to hear that he was mentioning it frequently and gave him a call, during which he said that any commitment to social justice compelled advocacy of gay rights. He told me that he often asks voters: “Do you think anyone in his right mind would choose to be gay in Nebraska?”

After he agreed to continue our conversation in person, an aide e-mailed to say that an interview couldn’t be arranged. Kerrey overruled the aide.

Kerrey  insists it's because he doesn't want to be on the wrong side of history:

“What I usually say is, ‘Let me talk to you about the issue of homosexuality,’” Kerrey said over a drink here Saturday night. And then he indeed talks to voters about it, telling them that people are born the way they are and deserve a full complement of civil rights, including the right to marry. It’s that simple.

“People who are opposed to it are going to have to be explaining to their grandkids: why, why, why was that the rationale?” he said. “We’re going to be embarrassed in 25 years.”

Feel free to say thanks to Bob Kerrey here.

No 'Fairness Amendment' To End LGBT Discrimination In Lincoln, Nebraska

NebraskaAfter a hard fought battle to pass non-discrimination ordinance for LGBT people, lawmakers in Lincoln, Nebraska, are pulling the issue off the table.

An ordinance had support in the city council, which passed it last May, and Mayor Chris Beutler backed it, but opponents gathered enough signatures to force a ballot vote and officials simply don't think the timing is right for a city-wide vote.

"November just didn't feel like a good time to offer it," Carl Eskridge, a City Councilman who sponsored the ordinance, told The Journal Star. "I just don't know when it will happen. It could be a year or two [before reintroduction]."

Eskridge and his allies say they are going to spend the immediate future working on educating voters about non-discrimination laws.


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