LGBT workplace anti-discrimination bill fails

Posted at 11:02 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 00:02:16-04

A bill to ban workplace discrimination toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Nebraskans failed in the legislature on Wednesday. Emotions ran high and some remarks raised eyebrows.

LB 586 would have made it illegal for employers to fire someone because of their sexual identity. Current law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, disability, marital status or national origin.

The bill was killed by a vote of 26-18 after Senator Bob Krist’s bracket motion.

During floor debate Senator Bill Kintner said a few controversial remarks on why he doesn’t support this bill.

“When I go to San Francisco, sometimes I’ve seen some pretty weird things there. And I’m not that comfortable in San Francisco. But you know the difference between conservatives and my friends on the left? When I’m not comfortable someplace I leave. I go somewhere I am comfortable, I move to the state I am comfortable, I like it.

KMTV spoke with Sen. Kintner after he made those remarks.

“We'll first of all--there's nothing to make you feel uncomfortable. There's no one discriminating against you. There's no laws to discriminate against you. There’s nothing to make you feel uncomfortable. It's a state of mind. We have a live and let live state. It's just not an issue for most people,” said Sen. Kintner.

However some people and organization like the ACLU disagree.

They released a statement after this bill’s defeat saying,”

“Each day Nebraska goes without basic updates to our nondiscrimination law is a day when our state stands to lose talented employees who contribute to our state’s economy.

“The ACLU is thankful for the many brave LGBT people who have shared their stories of discrimination. We are thankful for the business and faith leaders that joined over 3,000 Nebraskans who signed our equality agenda petition. We are thankful for the steadfast leadership of Sen. Adam Morfeld, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks and their colleagues who support workplace fairness. We urge any Nebraskan who has been discriminated against to contact us as we continue to explore legal and policy options to ensure no Nebraskan is fired because of who they are or who they love. We will never give up this fight.”

The bill’s sponsor Sen. Adam Morfeld said he will again propose this bill next session hoping for a different result.