Full EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW For LGBTQIA Nebraskans

Archive for the ‘Nebraska’ Category

Nebraska Equality Activism Continues Full Speed Ahead.


OMAHA,  NE – The Nation’s only Unicameral state legislature is once again debating LGBT issues. Legislative bills similar to previously introduced equality legislation are once again on the table for discussion in 2015. The Equality Agenda bills as they are being known as are three bills introduced by State Senators Jeremy Nordquist (LD7), Sara Howard (LD9), Adam Morfeld (LD46). Last week’s judiciary hearing gave the public the chance to speak about the bills.

LB647, the measure by Nordquist would ban discrimination based on various factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.  Nebraska is one of two states which prohibit LGBT foster parents.  Nebraska’s ban is based on nothing more that a departmental memo from 1995. The next bill, LB648, introduced by Sara Howard, would allow joint adoption by two individuals, regardless of marital status. The final measure, LB586, introduced by newly elected Adam Morfeld would ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

All three bills have an uphill battle in the ultra-conservative Unicameral. If the bills advance out of committee, supporters will need 33 votes to break any likely filibusters.  But a couple of turncoats, the Chambers of Commerce of Lincoln and Omaha spoke in favor of Morfeld’s workplace protections bill on Wednesday.

The Video  below begins with a nice clip of State Senator Adam Morfeld.

 

There is still time to send the Committee telling them to support these bills, or sign the ACLU’s petition below.

Dear State Senator,

I am writing as a Nebraska Voter to urge you to support the bills LB586, LB647, and LB648. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Nebraskans are our family, friends, and co-workers. Every Nebraskan should be entitled to the same opportunities to take care of their families and to feel safe at work. Equality before the law isn’t just an idea, it’s the
state motto of Nebraska. Please support LB586, LB647, and LB648.

Sincerely,
{YOUR NAME}

Judiciary Committee Members Emails:

amorfeld@leg.ne.gov,
ppansingbrooks@leg.ne.gov,
lseiler@leg.ne.gov,
ccoash@leg.ne.gov,
mwilliams@leg.ne.gov,
lebke@leg.ne.gov,
bkrist@leg.ne.gov,

ACLU’s Equality Agenda Petition

 

 

Advertisements

Voter Information for 2014 Elections


OMAHA, NE – WordPress has this new Voter Info Tool where you can look up your voter information, like your polling place. Check it out! See how you like it! Consult your election official for further information. 🙂

Help Fund Equality


OMAHA, NE – If you are not able to volunteer for any of our events, you can do a great service by donating to our cause. The Nebraskans for Equality Blog is part of a nationwide movement to change the conversation on the LGBT movement called The Equality Pledge. The Equality Pledge stresses the LGBT Community and supportive elected officials come together to push for Full Federal Equality which involves a one bill strategy to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a broad of list of laws already granting existing protected classes protection in areas including: Public Accommodations, Public Facilities, Federally Funded Programs, Employment, Housing, Education, Credit, Federal Marriage Equality, Immigration, Disability, and Family Leave.

To help us move equality forward, just  a $5 donation can go a long way to reaching our goals for Full Federal Equality under the law. Will you donate to help fund equality?

Click here:  HELP FUND EQUALITY

Help Fund Equality

Help Fund Equality

Changing the LGBT Equality Conversation.


OMAHA, NE –  The LGBT community has fought for equality for decades, yet a significant amount of LGBT discrimination remains: 51% of Americans live in the 34 states that ban marriage equality. In 29 states, you can be fired based on your sexual orientation, in 33 states based on your gender identity. In 30 states, you can be denied housing based on your sexual orientation, in 34 states based on your gender identity. In 29 states, you can be denied public accommodations based on your sexual orientation, in 34 based on your gender identity. *Source: ACLU, Marriage Equality USA, Get Equal, HRC, State Government websites.

Unfair treatment and discrimination lead to higher rates of poverty and distress in the LGBT community. This is not acceptable. LGBT Americans are entitled to full and equal federal protection as a matter of international human rights law, the 14th Amendment and as an urgent matter of public health, to stop the suffering caused by anti-LGBT stigma in society. The time to stand for the full spectrum of rights and protections we deserve as Americans is now.

A real solution to inequality is The Equality Pledge and the American Equality Bill, an omnibus bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity as federally protected classes under a broad list of areas where other classes are already federally protected. These areas include public accommodations, public facilities, federally funded programs, employment, housing, education, credit, federal marriage equality, immigration, disability, and family leave. Adding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as protected classes when it comes to federally funded programs is probably the single most important civil rights issue never talked about in the LGBT community. Current laws covering the other protected classes include; the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Fair Housing Act, Education Amendments Act of 1972, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
See the Pledge: http://www.actonprinciples.org/thepledge

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia or IDAHOT. IDAHOT is a day to stand against violence, oppression and to promote freedom, diversity, and acceptance. Last year, IDAHOT was celebrated in 113 countries. Members of the Omaha area’s LGBT community will rally at 72nd and Dodge Streets at 2pm this Saturday, May 17th, where they will also advocate for full federal equality through the omnibus bill, or one-bill strategy.
See also: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org
See also: https://www.facebook.com/events/281157485379314

Sincerely,
Ken Riter
Nebraskans For Equality

Fight For Full Federal Equality


OMAHA, NE – Equality for all Americans is important, and of particular importance to our nation’s LGBT community. I am excited to donate some of my time to take on the task as a state lead for Nebraska for The Equality Pledge. and the American Equality Bill.

The time to push for Full Federal Equality has arrived.  ENDA has been introduced in every session of Congress since 1994, and has failed to pass.  The LGBT movement has been “piecemealing” our civil rights for so long, that people have forgotten that Marriage Equality and NonDiscrimination in Housing and Employment are just a small part of what we in the LGBT Community deserve as true and equal Americans. I say the people are growing weary. There is also a need to look to fairness in education, public accommodation, federal funding, and credit, among an entire list of civil rights that we should be demanding now and discussing everyday within our respective communities.

A day of action is coming.  May 17th is our first day of action to stand against homophobia and transphobia in cooperation between the people of the Full Equality Pledge and IDAHOT 2014. Omaha will have rally May 17th 2014, from 2pm-7pm on the NorthWest corner of 72nd and Dodge.  According to The Equality Pledge leader Todd Fernandez, “The key objective on May 17th is to bring local Pledge groups together to discuss and create a plan for coalition work focused on the Pledge, and on other state nondiscrimination priorities you may have.  It’s time to organize to win.  And July 2nd is the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act – so if not now, when?”
(FB Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/281157485379314)
See also http://dayagainsthomophobia.org

A new arm in the LGBT movement is rising to take up this responsibility of discussing and pushing the need for Full Federal Equality and that is The Equality Pledge.  Our message is that LGBTQIA Americans are entitled to full and equal federal nondiscrimination protection; first, as a matter of international human rights law, and urgently, as a matter of public health, to stop the horrible suffering caused by anti-LGBTQIA stigma in society.

The Equality Pledge supports the passage of an omnibus LGBT equality legislation that grants full non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity equal to those accorded other statuses under existing civil rights laws and Supreme Court jurisprudence, specifically including:

  1. Public Accommodations (Title II, 1964 Civil Rights Act)(e.g., restaurants, hotels, theaters)
  2. Public Facilities (Title III, 1964 Civil Rights Act) (e.g., courthouses, jails, hospitals, parks)
  3. Federally-Funded Programs **Possibly the single most important one**(Title VI, 1964 Civil Rights Act) (e.g., adoption, police, schools, homeless youth, health care)
  4. Employment (Title VII, 1964 Civil Rights Act; 1978 Civil Service Reform Act; 1991 Government Employee Rights Act; 1995 Congressional Accountability Act; 10 U.S.C. Ch. 37) (e.g., civilian and military government, private sector)
  5. Housing (Title VIII, 1968 Civil Rights Act, aka the Fair Housing Act) (e.g., rental, purchase, finance)
  6. Education (Title IX, 1972 Education Amendments Act) (e.g., schools, bullying)
  7. Credit (1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act) (e.g., credit cards)
  8. Federal Marriage Equality (based on gender, SO) (e.g., 1967 Supreme Court Decision, Loving v. Virginia)
  9. Immigration, Disability, and Family Leave (Uniting American Families Act (proposed), the American With Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act)

This is an important turn in the history of the LGBT movement. Every individual and every group is warmly welcomed to this organizing that respects autonomy and diversity in strategy, messaging and tactics.  Retired organizers are rising up again, able to work by phone and email these days.  And LGBT community centers, state equality groups, and grassroots marriage equality groups, to name a few, are taking leading roles for May 17th.  The Equality Pledge has already received endorsements from over 225 groups from 44 states and the District of Columbia. These groups represent the full array of advocacy, direct action, faith-based, statewide, local, marriage, immigration, pride, transgender/gender-nonconforming, community centers, and other community constituencies.  See also: http://www.actonprinciples.org/thepledge

If you are interested in bringing your group into this vast and growing network, please contact Ken Riter at 4o2-686-6389 in Nebraska or Mika Covington at 712-314-8258 in Iowa.

Equal Rights Fight for LGBT Nebraskans Inches Forward.


OMAHA, NE – Nebraska, in just a few recent years jumped back into the Equality movement with a Workplace Protections ordinance in Omaha, followed later by Lincoln and Grand Island.  Three bills in the Unicameral also touched on LGBT issues in varying degrees, two of them are still alive, with hopes of passage in 2014.  On Tuesday, August 27th, 2013, a lesbian couple and two gay couples filed a lawsuit in a Lincoln district court arguing the state policy created in 1995 banning them from becoming foster or adoptive parents to children under care of Nebraska is unconstitutional.

While Nebraskans for Equality believe the ACLU lawsuit is a very powerful step, we cannot abandon the efforts to ensure LB380 and LB385 become law. Both bills are very important pieces in the puzzle for full LGBTQIA Equality in Nebraska. Also, both bills cover more ground than the ACLU lawsuit alone.

LB380: This bill was introduced by Sara Howard during the 2013 Unicameral session to resolve the current problem: The State of Nebraska prohibits all unmarried couples from adopting and prohibits second parent adoption. LB380 will allow qualified unmarried couples to jointly adopt. LB380 will clarify provisions in State Law to allow qualified couples to use Second Parent Adoption. LB380 will have many benefits. LB380 will allow more families to adopt the children waiting for a loving stable family. Currently there are over 500,000 children waiting for families. LB380 will allow couples who are unable to have to children to adopt and start a family. LB380 will allow couples who are unable or do not want to marry to jointly adopt.  LB380 will help families who are unable  or do not want to marry to provide additional protections to their family.  LB380 will allow couples who are already raising a child but only one parent has parental rights to use second parent adoption to secure the second parent’s rights. LB380 has support from the following groups: American Psychological Association, Association of Social Workers – Nebraska Chapter, National Association of Social Workers, Nebraska Psychological Association, ACLU-NE, Inclusive Communities,  Nebraskans for Equality, and Forward Equality who worked directly with State Senator Sara Howard since 2012 on this issue.  From Forward Equality

LB385:  This bill was introduced into the Nebraska Unicameral by Jeremy Nordquist and bans discrimination in Nebraska’s Foster Care system based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status, or national origin. This bill passed a committee vote 5-1 on Friday, May 31, 2013.

Marriage Equality:  Senator Brad Ashford will be having the Legislative Judiciary committee hearing dealing with Marriage Equality on November 1st, 2013. This a change from the previous date scheduled in October.

%d bloggers like this: