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.