The Lincoln, Nebraska, City Council on Monday amended its city code to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The 5-0 vote (two council members were absent) to overhaul the city’s code builds on a fairness ordinance passed in 2012 that was derailed by a referendum petition led by opponents, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. The order was not overturned, but it has remained “in limbo” for the past decade.
Monday’s vote will replace the previous ordinance with the updated code, although some residents have already signaled they plan to mount another petition campaign.
Councilwoman Tammy Ward, who backed the 2012 ordinance, said Monday that changes to federal law, including the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. County of Clayton – justified a modification of the municipal code.
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“The Supreme Court has ruled time and time again to protect the rights of gay human beings. This court is the law of the land,” Ward said, according to the Journal Star. “These changes are about fairness, equity, justice and civil rights. Sometimes it was difficult for me that we even had to have this discussion.
Members of Congress are reportedly at odds with Ward as the Equality Act, which would expand existing civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in all 50 states, remains stalled in the Senate.
The legislation, passed by the House in Februarywould also strengthen protections for women, people of color and people of all religions.
In a statement last week following the House’s approval of the Global Respect Act, which takes a tougher stance against human abuse against LGBTQ+ people overseas, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D -Calif.) asked the Senate to pass the law on equality.
“Now the Senate must join the House in standing up for human rights around the world and here at home by enacting not only the Global Respect Act, but also the Equality Act passed by the House” , she said.
While proponents say it would simply expand existing protections granted under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, opponents have argued that the Equality Act would jeopardize religious objections.
Always, a October poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 82% of Americans support laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing — up 10 percentage points since 2015.
Support for non-discrimination laws is also strongly bipartisan, according to the poll, with 67% of Republicans, 87% of independents and 92% of Democrats supporting protections for LGBTQ+ Americans.
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