Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lincoln, NE gay rights ordinance: Mayor Chris Beutler has the best refutation of the antigay "religious exemption" argument we've heard

On right-wing Lincoln AM radio station KLIN Beutler said churches in the Civil War said slavery was dictated by the Bible and Mormonism once allowed polygamy but those beliefs don't have to be incorporated into the law of a democratic society. KLIN also interviewed Carl Eskridge; his questioners repeated Alliance Defense Fund talking points about the integrity of a University of Nebraska Medical Center survey of antigay bias in Nebraska.

Nebraska Watchdog reports that Coby Mach, head of the "Lincoln Independent Business Association," has asked the city attorney for an opinion from the early 80s relating to the classes protected by Lincoln's proposed new protection for LGBT residents. Mach thinks adding a protected class would necessitate changing the city charter and could not be done with an amendment.
     Mach said his organization is "doing research too see what the effect would be on business." Even though he admits he hasn't read the ordinance. Even though his group is obviously looking for an city charter card to trump any City Council protected class addition via an ordinance.
     According to Nebraska Watchdog, Lincoln's city attorney office isn't giving Liba the time of day:
...City Attorney Rod Confer said the city attorney’s opinion will not be shared with LIBA because it’s protected by attorney-client privilege. He would not discuss the contents of the opinion, either.
     “If I tell you what the opinions say, then I’m waiving attorney-client privilege,” Confer told Nebraska Watchdog.
     He said state law gives the city authority to pass such an ordinance and there’s no need to amend the city charter. Confer cited a 1981 attorney general’s opinion on whether cities have the right to enact ordinances that would protect classifications of people not specifically mentioned in state law
The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce wouldn't talk to Nebraska Watchdog about the issue.

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