by TCG Staff
A group called “Let Lincoln Vote” is helping to organize a ballot initiative that would revive the so-called “fairness ordinance,” which was recently rescinded by the Lincoln City Council. The Council took that rescission action after the Nebraska Family Alliance, a largely Protestant organization, led a highly successful referendum petition drive that forced the City Council either to rescind the ordinance or to let voters decide the matter at the ballot box.
The Council, fearing repudiation of the ordinance if put to a city-wide vote, did in fact rescind the ordinance (as well as an earlier and more narrowly framed “fairness” ordinance that had languished in legal limbo for approximately 10 years).
According to today’s edition of the Lincoln Journal Star:
Nate Grasz, policy director for the Nebraska Family Alliance, which led the referendum petition, said the City Council did the right thing when it rescinded the ordinance and this as [sic] a step backward.
“We think citizens spoke loudly when we collected over 18,000 signatures (for the referendum) in just two weeks,” he said. “What’s important is this doesn’t change anything for us. We’ve been prepared for this to go to the ballot since we filed our petition in March asking them to rescind (the ordinance) or put it on the ballot.”
The ballot initiative will require 8,846 signatures of Lincoln voters by August 1st in order to appear on the November ballot. It would broadly amend existing municipal law that deals with equal protection in employment, housing and public accommodations.
In a bid to secure broader support, the ballot initiative would also add veterans and active duty military as “protected classes,” even though there appears to be no consensus that veterans and active duty military personnel are regular victims of discrimination based on their veteran and active duty military status.
The real goal of the ballot initiative, however, is to expand protection to include “sexual orientation” and so-called “gender identity.” This push ignores the basic fact that “sexual orientation” laws have proven to be an existential threat to the speech and religious freedom guarantees in our Constitution. It also ignores the fact that “gender identity” involves some level of confused or even delusional thinking that departs from the reality of a person’s existence as biologically male or female. Such persons deserve compassion and treatment, not encouragement to persist in such thinking, which only confirms the person’s flight from reality. Promoting protections for so-called “gender identity” has been found to be a threat to the safety and privacy of women and has led to the downfall of girls sports in particular.
The ballot initiative also amends language on disability and on race to include protections related to “hair texture” and “hairstyles,” which appears to many opponents as micro-management related to issues that are not an inherent part of race but instead belong to cultural manifestations which people can choose to adopt or not, depending upon how they will be perceived in the broader culture.
Opponents’ main fears are that, if the ballot initiative language is adopted, the negative effect on local businesses, women and girls, as well as on religious organizations. will be a costly self-inflicted wound to the city.