Full EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW For LGBTQIA Nebraskans


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.


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.


OMAHA, NE – Nebraskans for Equality’s first event, the ‘Full Equality Before the Law’ rally is a complete success. A big thank you to all who joined the First Full Equality Rally today!!! It was fun, it was great to see some new faces!! I hope the very happy and peaceful Full Equality Rallies become regular events for Nebraskans For Equality because Full Equality Before the Law is what Nebraskans need and deserve!  While a certain HeartLand Pride President would compare peaceful activists like us to Westboro Protesters, we know we did the right thing.  Thousands of Omahans were made aware of LGBT issues as they drove by and honked at seeing our signs, informing them of the need for legislation covering Marriage Equality, Workplace Fairness, Stop Bullying, LB380/LB385 and overall Full Equality, to name a few. Seven wonderful activists showed up for the rally, and I would like to give Fremont a special shout out for supplying 4 of the 7 ralliers!

On another note, I don’t understand why so many activists in Nebraska have to trash LB380 and LB385. These bills could have been law by now, if the community had gotten on board to begin with. Nebraska children and Nebraska families need those bills. These bills also encompass more than just the LGBT community. It doesn’t help the movement to put one LGBT issue ahead of another, especially laws that we can pass by LEGISLATIVE ACTION. We should be pushing for FULL EQUALITY. I grew up in a household that taught me to have a job, have an education BEFORE you start a family. This is why I don’t understand why there is this push to put marriage equality above all else, when there are no state level protections for housing, public accommodation and the workplace, all which are basic needs for people who plan to get married someday. Being married does not protect you from job or housing discrimination. This why I believe we should push for FULL EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW in Nebraska.

There are four currently scheduled items that are huge for Full Equality efforts in Nebraska.
1.  Forward Equality’s Pizza and Postcard party in Lincoln, Tuesday, August 6th at 5:30pm at Yia-Yia’s Pizza see the FaceBook Event for further details,
2. The next event is Forward Equality’s Pizza and Postcard party in Omaha, August 20, at 5:30pm,
3. Rally for Marriage Equality on Sept 3 from 2pm to 4pm at 72nd Dodge Street,
4. Brad Ashford‘s Unicameral Judiciary Hearing in Lincoln on Oct 4th for Same-Sex Marriage in Nebraska.

**Memorandum for Full Equality in Nebraska: We must work toward Full Equality legislation that grants full non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression equal to those accorded other statuses under existing civil rights laws and Supreme Court jurisprudence including, not limited to Public Accommodations, Public Facilities, State-Funded Programs, Employment, Housing, Education, Credit, State-Level Marriage Equality, as well as Labor, Disability and Leave.

Ken Riter


OMAHA, NE – Nebraskans For Equality Stands with Harvey Fierstein and thanks him for being outspoken against the atrocities being done against Russia’s LGBTQIA community.  Watch his Lawrence O’Donnell interview here. Harvey strongly speaks out against the hateful laws and the resulting state sanctioned violence against Russia’s LGBTQIA community.

Harvey Fierstein
It’s time to start paying attention to what’s going on in Russia in case you haven’t yet. Putin has declared war on the gay community. He’s made it illegal to promote homosexuality in theater, film, tv, print that in any way could be seen by youth. In other words anything gay is now pornography. He’s outlawed the adopting of Russian children to any country that has legalized marriage equality. And now it is reported that his next law will remove the children of GLBT families from their homes. This will apply to biological children as well as formerly adopted ones. This is a horror. Not only for our community but even for straight families. Already divorced parents are threatening one another with blackmail to tell authorities that their ex is now gay just to control parental rights. Putin wants this attack against human rights to be his legacy. He believes he can get the backing of the Vatican as well as all other conservative religious leaders to join his cause. What can we do? Make his actions and his plans public. Shine the light of public opinion on this evil doer.
Boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia. Believe me, Putin will use the Olympics as proof that the world backs up his action. There are only two ways to deal with a tyrant: Starve out the rat, or destroy him. So, my friends, do your research and then GET LOUD AGAINST PUTIN AND HIS ANTI-GAY POGROM. This is a very small world. Our brothers and sisters in Russia need us NOW! Read Harvey’s full New York Times Op-ed here.

Dump Russian Vodka

BoyCott the Olympics and Russian Products!

What is going on in Russia is disgusting and should not be tolerated by gay people anywhere.  The laws being imposed by Putin are encouraging radical members of the populace to hurt members of the LGBT community.  We can stand against these atrocities with not only our voices, but also our dollars.  Please, join the boycott against Russian products.  Many gay bars in the largest cities around the country are removing Russian vodka from their shelves as a show of solidarity with our counterparts fighting for their rights and their lives in Russia. As bad as it can get here in the US, the situation in Russia has taken a significant dark and dire turn.

Our Brothers and Sisters in Russia Proclaim they will not be silenced!

From Cleve Jones:
Here are the top ten corporate sponsors of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Let them know you’re concerned about human rights in Russia and the attacks on LGBT people and women.

Coca-Cola
http://www.coca-colacompany.com/contact-us/
Atos
http://atos.net/en-us/home/contact-us.html
Dow
http://www.dow.com/company/contact/
GE
http://www.ge.com/contact/general
McDonalds
http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/contact_us.html
Omega
https://ccm.omegawatches.com/en/
Panasonic
http://www.panasonic.com/business-solutions/contact-psc.asp?display=form
PG
http://www.pg.com/en_US/contact_us/index.shtml
Samsung
https://www.samsung.com/us/support/contact#
Visa
https://corporate.visa.com/utility/contactus.jsp

More soon!

~ Ken Riter


OMAHA, NE – Nebraskans For Equality is proud to announce it will be hosting its first event, the “Full Equality Before The Law” Rally, on Friday, August 2nd, 2013, from 4pm to 6pm CST. Come join “Nebraskans for Equality” for its first equality rally. Momentum is building tremendously nationwide for full LGBTQIA rights, we should be looking to what we can do for ourselves right here in Nebraska. So what, if people think it doesn’t have much of a chance. Our rights have ZERO chances if we doing NOTHING about them. Join the rally, meet other activists, and learn about what is already going on (LB380 and LB385 in the Unicameral, LGBT inclusive bills) (Brad Ashford‘s Judiciary committee in October, on Marriage equality)

If you would like to go, don’t forget to RSVP at the FaceBook Event Page.  Nebraskans For Equality is committed to Full Equality for all LGBTQIA persons, not just at the Nebraska state level, but local and nationally, too!  The bills currently in the Unicameral have a decent chance of passing, but only if people get involved, especially when it includes contacting your state senators directly and providing them useful facts, information and situations they may not already know. While we depend on votes in the Unicameral to go our way, remember, we as voters, have the power to sway how our representatives vote, but that can only happen if we honestly try!

Rainbow Eagle

Let LGBTQIA Activism Soar in Nebraska!

~Ken Riter

%d bloggers like this: