US: Nebraska city council implements protections for LGBT city employees
In a change of direction from a decision last month, the Grand Island City Council has overridden a mayoral veto, and granted protections for LGBT people working for the city.
The measure, which adds “sexual orientation” to a list of classes that the city does not discriminate against, passed 6-4 on Tuesday evening, and the veto by Mayor Jay Vavricek. was overridden by 8 votes to 2, reported the Associated Press.
This new ruling only affects city policy, and does not apply to any other businesses, or employers in the council’s jurisdiction.
The council last month rejected a different measure which would have barred discrimination by businesses against current or prospective employees based on sexual orientation, as well as in situations involving real estate.
State and federal laws both bar discrimination based on race, ethnic origin and other factors, in those situations, however neither contains protections for LGBT people.
The measure did prove controversial with the council members, as one, Scott Dugan, said that there was no data showing the protection was needed for LGBT people, and that his constituents were against it.
The new ordiance, passed Tuesday, was controversial, but saw two council members change their minds in order to overrule the veto by Mayor Vavricek.
After hearing details of the measure, the mayor deemed it merely symbolic.
Then Councilman Chuck Haase and Councilman Nickerson changed sides, to support the override.
According to Councilman Mitch Nickerson, these efforts could be in vain as he described the ordinance as a “statement of support with no teeth”, referring to the fact that they city did not intend to collect data on the number of LGBT people who were hired, or not, after apply for jobs with the city.