Changes to Lincoln’s equal opportunity code may be on the ballot after all

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Supporters of an initiative to amend Lincoln’s discrimination code are trying again to let people vote on it.

On Friday, Let Lincoln Vote filed for the second time a ballot initiative with the Lincoln city clerk.

Supporters say the anti-discrimination initiative, also known as the Title 11 amendments, will benefit people who are marginalized due to military or veteran status, disability, race, national origin, marital status and sex. 

In August, the group turned in over 11,000 signatures. But the Lancaster County election commissioner rejected the petition forms over a technicality. 

“Every single entity that we talked to said, ‘Look for the city code for the guidelines,'” initiative sponsor Kay Siebler said. “We followed to the letter the guidelines that were in the city code, and then once we collected the signatures, they said, ‘No, you need to apply by state guidelines.’” 

Early this year, the city council voted to amend Title 11 of the Lincoln City Code, a document that defines who is protected against discrimination.

Also known as the Fairness Ordinance, the amendment added protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status to city code. 

But after the Nebraska Family Alliance and opponents gathered over 18,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot, the city voted to rescind the initiative.

Siebler said that the opposition is “a very small minority” of Lincoln and that most people want veterans, LGBTQ people and others to be protected from discrimination.

In March, the Nebraska Family Alliance said governments across the country are using proposals like the Fairness Ordinance “to threaten Americans’ constitutionally protected freedoms and force a destructive gender ideology on society.”

Let Lincoln Vote will start contacting the 11,000 people who signed the first time to have them sign again. It hopes the initiative will be on the ballot next May.

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