Lincoln city councilmembers have voted 5-0 to expand the city anti-discrimination ordinance, extending protections against employment and housing discrimination to homosexual and transgender residents.
The vote comes a week after the council heard nearly seven hours of comment from the public about the issue.
The vote might not be the last say on the issue. Two groups have said they will mount a petition drive, seeking to force the issue to a vote of the people. The Nebraska Family Council and Family First have only 15 days to gather more than 2,500 signatures of registered city voters needed to force the issue to the ballot.
Councilmember Carl Eskridge sponsored the proposal and stated it rested on a simple premise.
“Prejudice and discrimination are never right in this community for any reasons,” Eskridge said.
The Lincoln ordinance is similar to one approved in Omaha earlier in the year.
The ordinance adds gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes specifically protected from discrimination. The ordinance now includes protections from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, familial status, ancestry, age or marital status. The law allows people who believe they have been discriminated against to take their complaint before the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights.
KLIN contributed to this report.