Heineman said he concurred with the opinion of Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who claims that the Nebraska Constitution requires Lincoln and Omaha to amend their city charters via a citizen vote in order to ban discrimination against groups not enumerated by state law, even though attorneys for both cities have said that isn't true.
Al Riskowski, head of the Nebraska Family Council, which has 200 people circulating petitions to block the ordinance pending a popular vote, said his petitions were available last Sunday in Lutheran churches as well as every Catholic church. Riskowski said he has been pleased with the response and expects to get the required 2,500 valid signatures by the deadline, May, 29th.
In November 2003, Jon Bruning said Massachusetts' Supreme Court ruling against that state's ban on gay marriages was ridiculous. "Does that mean you have to allow a man to marry his pet, or a man to marry his chair?" Bruning said. "I mean, at some point, it needs to stop." [Associated Press, 11/18/03]
In 2007, Gov. Heineman refused to comment on guidelines that his administration's Health and Human Services System prohibited diversity teams from providing programs about gay and lesbian issues and wouldn't say whether he agreed or disagreed with the policy.At the time, the Lincoln Journal documented the hostility of his administration toward even the discussion of LGBT issues.
But some members of HHS diversity teams in Omaha and Lincoln recently resigned after administrators prevented programs that included discussion of gay and lesbian issues.In Omaha, at least 10 of 24 team members quit when administrators stopped a program and panel focusing on gay and lesbian issues.One of the invited speakers said the administration first stopped a daylong training and then said the group could not host a shorter program offered after work hours.Committee members were told they could not discuss gay, lesbian and transgendered issues on state time, said Betty Dorr, past president of Omaha PFLAG, a group representing parents, family and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons.