Opponents of the Lincoln City Council decision to expand the city anti-discrimination ordinance have gathered well more than enough signatures to force the issue to the ballot.
The city council last month passed a measure to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the classes protected against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Family First Nebraska Executive Director Dave Bydalek says the process the city council used help the petition drive gather more than 10,000 signatures.
“We’re thrilled with the response we got from the community and I think it really reflects a frustration with the way this issue has been dealt with from the very beginning. And that is that there really has been no time for serious reflection about the ramifications of this ordinance,” Bydalek told Kevin Thomas on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN’s Drive Time Lincoln.
Petitioners needed 2,489 valid signatures to force the issue to the ballot for a city-wide vote.
Some critics of the petition drive have raised questions about its validity, implying that it wasn’t properly drafted. Bydalek says he has heard some suggest the drive violates state law by incorporating more than one subject. Yet, Bydalek insists it tracks closely the ordinance approved by the city council.
The signatures have been turned into the city clerk. The Election Commission will review them to determine their validity. Bydalek says he understands the next step is up to the city council.
“Several different things could happen and that will determine what type of lawsuit may have to be filed,” according to Bydalek. “So, we’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this report.