The Tipping Point for Equality in Nebraska
August 19, 2011
I’m writing to you today from Omaha, Nebraska – the second stop on our “On the Road to Equality” bus tour where we’re in the midst of a weekend full of great events.
Last night we hosted 150 people talking about the state of the LGBT movement today. It’s true that in some ways we’re at a tipping point for equality but that doesn’t always feel like the case in places like Nebraska where there are no significant statewide protections for our community. The mood in the room was hopeful though, especially as we discussed the imminent end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” next month and how Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson was a key vote in favor of repeal.
The next big push for equality here is an effort to pass an inclusive workplace non-discrimination ordinance in the city of Omaha. Luckily we have both public opinion and some key city leaders on our side, which we showcased at a press conference this morning. With the bus parked on the front lawn on ConAgra Foods as our backdrop, we detailed a brand new poll that we conducted in Nebraska that shows 73 percent support protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. That number jumps to 78 percent here in Omaha.
With us at the event were Mayor Jim Suttle and City Councilman Ben Gray as well as representatives from Citizens for Equal Protection, One Iowa, PFLAG and a local gay couple who recently won a dream wedding contest sponsored by the local newspaper in their hometown of Lincoln. Take a look at this front page story in the Omaha World Herald about our Nebraska poll and this other story about the non-discrimination ordinance, also in today’s paper.
There are other events here as part of the tour including a forum on family acceptance of LGBT youth with Dr. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project; a big open-house tomorrow morning at ConAgra; a religious forum in Lincoln; and finally we’ll be participating in the University of Nebraska’s “Big Red Welcome” on Sunday evening right on campus.
Follow us along the road on the HRC Back Story blog. I hope you enjoy the weekend.