LINCOLN (AP) — A national civil rights group says it’s increasing its advocacy efforts for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Nebraska.
The Washington D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign will form a Nebraska chapter called HRC Nebraska, the Lincoln Journal Star reports. Organizers said it will push for laws that protect people against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.
“There is simply no excuse for Nebraskans to discriminate against their neighbors,” said Brad Clark, director of programmatic development for the campaign.
The organization said about one in five lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Nebraska report experiencing employment discrimination and about two in five say they’ve been harassed at work.
Lawmakers, municipal leaders and other gay and civil rights leaders who attended a press conference Sept. 15 said they welcome the national organization’s announcement.
It follows two legislative sessions during which gay rights legislation failed, as did legal challenges to the state’s gay marriage ban. Attempts to extend adoption and foster parent rights to any two unrelated adults and same-sex couples never made it out of committee.
“Our work includes nothing short of ensuring all Nebraska citizens who work hard, pay taxes, who contribute to their communities are afforded the same rights that I and my family are afforded,” said Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln.
The campaign helped rally support this past spring for a bill Conrad proposed to ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation, but it fell to a filibuster. The group has also worked on non-discrimination ordinances in several Nebraska cities.
Among those opposed to efforts such as the adoption bill is Nebraska Family Alliance Executive Director Al Riskowski, who believes traditional marriage provides the best setting for children. He said he expects the Human Rights Campaign’s Nebraska chapter to push for a “protected class” for sexual orientation and gender identity.