Recently, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination against city employees in the LGBTQ+ community. For the first time, gender identity and expression are being protected in Lincoln.
This executive order is crucial to ensuring an equitable work place for city employees but underscores just how far our state has to progress in order to truly live up to our state motto: “Equality Before the Law.”
The Nebraska Legislature has failed to support a bill by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks that gives the LGBTQ+ community the same job protection that Nebraska provides on the basis of gender, sex, race, national origin, marital status and disability.
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It is perfectly legal in the state of Nebraska to subject a child to harassment, bullying and violence on the basis of perceived gender identity or sexual orientation on school grounds. Outside of school, any citizen in the LGBTQ+ community can legally be subjected to the same pervasive discrimination. The lack of legal protection in place serves as an enabler for systematically homophobic groups to thrive in the state of Nebraska.
It is grotesquely unjust for the Nebraska Legislature to monopolize the conversation around the reality of a group the state refuses to protect under the law. To voters and citizens, I urge you to demand laws that protect everyone.