Whether including sexual orientation to state workplace anti-discrimination laws would help or hurt business in Nebraska was debated as supporters failed to overcome a filibuster in the legislature.
Much of eight hours of legislative debate on LB 485 centered on religion. Both supporters and opponents quoted the Bible and religious writings and gave testimony to their faith backgrounds as they debated the moral ramifications of passage or defeat of the measure.
Economics entered the debate as well.
Some complained that passage of the bill would add more burdensome regulation to business and invite lawsuits.
Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha contended it would infringe on the religious rights of small business owners.
“Our state government shouldn’t be in charge of telling small business owners who have religious objections to check their religious faith at the door of their home when they leave for work in the morning,” McCoy stated.
Yet, Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney countered the state must accommodate changes in the workplace in order to attract business to Nebraska.
“It’s going to be the new young people, but it’s also going to be economics,” Hadley stated. “It’s going to be hiring the most capable person you can hire. It’s going to be an economic issue as well as a moral issue and Nebraska cannot stand out as an island, by itself, if we’re going to move ahead.”
Supporters, though, couldn’t move past the filibuster mounted against the measure. They fell seven votes short of the total needed to end it, killing the bill for the session.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min]