Bills would expand gay rights in Nebraska - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Bills would expand gay rights in Nebraska

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It's an issue with two very split sides--gay rights expansion in Nebraska. 
State lawmakers in the judiciary committee peer out to a huge crowd Thursday. Dozens of people spoke in support of gay rights expansion in Nebraska. Dozens of people in opposition, as well.

Three bills were introduced on the topic. One of them would affect Dawn Cripe and her partner, as well as their son, Jack.
"Together, as expectant parents, we listened to Jack's hiccups, felt his first kicks, that of a pro soccer player I'm sure!" Cripe said. 

"We went to doctor's appointments and ultrasounds of our son. We heard his heart beat for the first time."

That bill allows for two unmarried people to adopt. It was introduced by Omaha senator Sara Howard. Under current Nebraska law, Cripe couldn't adopt Jack if something happened to her partner, Jack's biological mother.

Opponents say it's morally wrong and are also against allowing gay couples to foster children. That bill was introduced by Omaha senator Jeremy Nordquist. 
"Foster parents also have the same responsibility to be a man in woman in marriage," Ralph Bodie said.

"And what kind of citizens would we be rearing if we allowed this to happen?"

The final bill deals with workplace discrimination, introduced by Lincoln senator Danielle Conrad. Committee chair Brad Ashford, who was quiet most of the day, left both sides with the following statement.

"There's more common ground here than what we're exhibiting and saying are sides," Ashford said. 

"Because I think we all want these things for our kids and I think the family is the best place to get it going and if a gay couple wants to have a family and adopt kids and be able to work and have the freedom to work, I think that's a standard we ought to put into law."

The committee took no immediate action on any of the bills.

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