Mayoral candidate Cyndi Lamm’s affiliation 25 years ago with a conservative organization that promoted "traditional values” and was viewed by some as anti-gay and homophobic is being raised on an anti-Lamm website.
Lamm wrote letters to the editor, spoke out at Lincoln school board meetings, and was a leader in the Traditional Values Coalition of Nebraska in the mid-1990s when Lincoln Public Schools was considering adding sexual orientation education as part of the multicultural curriculum.
The website adds its own spin to those facts.
Lamm says the description of her past on the anti-Lamm website is “not accurate" and “does not remotely represent my record or history.”
The website, which appears initially to be a Lamm campaign website, is actually aimed at discrediting Lamm. It does not include any information about who produced it or is sponsoring it.
It is a scam, Lamm says.
Lamm, a Republican, said she would rather talk about city issues like roads, property tax relief and transparency in government than defend herself against bloggers on an anonymous website.
Lamm said that State Democrat Party Chair Jane Klebb tweeted the website message Thursday morning to get it rolling.
And she would like to see the other mayoral candidates, Democrats Lerion Gaylor Baird and Jeff Kirkpatrick, denounce the deceptive tactics.
Lamm said she did go before the school board in 1993 when the board was considering adding a sympathetic view of homosexuality as a part of the multicultural education curriculum.
This was at the height of the AIDS epidemic and thousands of people were dying, Lamm said.
Lamm said she talked about good policy but “never denigrated those who were in that lifestyle. My concern was the medical implications.”
For a while Lamm was a leader in the Traditional Values Coalition of Nebraska, which she described at the time as a pro-life, pro-family group that believes in the “heterosexual ethic, religious liberties and educational fairness.”
But about six months later, Lamm said she distanced herself from the national organization.
After the group’s national leader came to Lincoln, Lamm said, “it became clear to me we were not on the same page.”
In a 1994 interview with the Lincoln Journal, Lamm said she left California and moved to Lincoln, in part, because of the California public school system’s teaching that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.
Sexuality should be discussed at home with parents, Lamm said.
In that interview, Lamm said that homosexuality is a morally controversial issue, "so for the state or a school system to decide that it is morally acceptable lifestyle is way out of line with many parents."
Lamm, a Lincoln attorney, says she has represented gay clients and personally believes in fair and equitable treatment under the law for everyone.
While the issues and perspectives have evolved since 1994, her values and principles have remained the same, Lamm said.
“My value is that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect," she said. "And for a healthy, productive society, there needs to be freedom of ideas and public discourse."
In 2012, Lamm opposed the Lincoln City Council passing what was called the “fairness ordinance” that would have provided protection in employment, housing and public accommodations in Lincoln for gays, lesbians and transgender people.
That proposal, Lamm said at the time, should go to the voters for a decision.
However, Lamm said she has not ever considered changing a Lincoln city policy that prohibits the city basing hiring, promotion or firing decisions on sexual orientation.
That city policy, based on a 2003 executive order by then mayor Don Wesely, can be changed by a future mayor.
“Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. I have no agenda to go in and change the city’s hiring policies,” she said.
“What I do have is an agenda to improve our roads so I can drive across town without my teeth chattering, to improve economic development to help reduce property taxes and improve transparency in government, so people can follow a dollar."
The anti-Lamm website also points out that she accepted an invitation from ACT for America, often described as an anti-Muslim hate group, to attend a 2017 rally.
Lamm said she automatically accepts many invitations, but after checking out this group, had decided she would not attend. The September 2017 rally in Lincoln was canceled.