‘Fairness Ordinance’ could end up on the ballot in Lincoln after all

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The “Fairness Ordinance” was rescinded last week by the Lincoln City Council, but it may not be dead yet.

A group announced that it will try to get around 9,000 signatures by Aug. 1 to place the issue on the ballot.

“We know that if we get this, no, when we get this to the ballot in November, overwhelmingly Lincoln will vote to affirm anti-discrimination language in Title 11 city code,” said Kay Siebler of Let Lincoln Vote.

The first person to sign the petition was someone who has been waiting decades to see it come to fruition.

“I am so thrilled,” Barbara DiBernard. “I was in Lincoln in 1982 when we had a referendum, and we lost. I’ve been in Lincoln for the last 40 years waiting for this. I was really disappointed 10 years ago when city council passed the fairness ordinance but left it hanging and didn’t do anything. So it feels joyous, just feels joyous.”

One person was just stumbling on the press conference on Wednesday.

“I was not planning on being here today,” Jimi Light said. “I’m just an activist, and I came down to talk to my friends upstairs and realized that there was a petition drive here. If we can just get more bodies down here, I think we can come to a solution that fits all.”

The goal of the “Fairness Ordinance” is to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and military status.

“Here we are today, this small group of citizens,” Siebler said. “We are not trying to change the world, and we are not trying to change Lincoln. We think, we know, that Lincoln is going to vote for non-discrimination, that Lincoln is going to vote for fairness.”

The city council passed the ordinance in February, but the Nebraska Family Alliance quickly gathered enough signatures to force the council to rescind it or let Lincoln voters decide.

The council rescinded it last week, and now Let Lincoln Vote will gather its own signatures.

Siebler feels that here should be no problem getting the ordinance passed.

“We are not going to assume that people are going to attack,” she said. “We are not going to assume that there is going to be haters in the community. We are not going to assume that bad things are going to happen. To assume means inaction.”

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