OMAHA, NE – The City of Omaha adopted an ordinance on a 4-3 vote protecting sexual orientation and gender identity for employment and public accommodation earlier this week. Omaha City Council members Jerram, Festersen, Gray and Gernandt all Democrats voted yes, while Republicans Stothert, Mulligan and Thompson voted NO. The ordinance did grant an exemption for religious organizations. It took almost two hours for the council to even come to a vote as many of the politicians droned on about their views on Ben Gray’s ordinance. Coverage about the news spread like wildfire across the nations’ LGBT news and blogging sites. With the passage of these protections, Omaha belatedly joins 35 other major US metros and over 160 cities nationwide.
Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle signed the ordinance Thursday afternoon, March 15th at a ceremony in City Hall. The new ordinance will come into effect on March 28th. Mayor Suttle applauded the City Council on passing the ordinance, saying, “Omaha is a city that welcomes diversity, embraces fresh ideas, and is open for business to everyone.”
What was even more impressive than the passage was the council member who switched their vote, Garry Gernandt, who hesitated a couple moments before giving a “yes” vote. The audience audibly gasped as everyone realized he had given the additional vote that was needed.
Video below is from AKSARBENT.
Next article, will be on Thompson and Stothert, I have some wonderful quotes from Jean Stothert’s FaceBook page. After that, hopefully some non-LGBT centered stories for a change, this is a Progressive Blog after all. It wasn’t meant to just cover LGBT issues 🙂