|Nebraska Family Council claim (click picture to enlarge): Omaha's LGBT fair employment ordinance|
confers "special privileges" for gay Omahans and infringes on "religious freedoms" (apparently
loopholes in the law allowing religious organizations to discriminate against gay people aren't
generous enough to satiate the Nebraska Family Council.)
Background: In May, after Omaha adopted an LGBT anti-bias ordinance, the Lincoln City Council did the same, on a 5-0 vote with the two Republican councilmen abstaining. The Nebraska Family Council and Family First of Nebraska immediately gathered over 10,000 signatures on a petition to halt implementation of the law, requiring the city council to either let the ordinance die or put it on the ballot. Petition signatures were solicited at every Catholic church in Lincoln; four times the required number of signatures were collected.
Last week, a petition request with the City of Omaha to put the city's anti-bias law to a popular vote was filed by a group calling itself the Omaha Liberty Project. The organization includes a board member of the Nebraska Family Council, William Femi Awodele; its leader is a local Tea Party activist, Patrick Bonnett, owner of Encore Financial Services, Inc. of Omaha.
Omaha legal officials are reviewing the proposed petition. If it is approved and attracts enough signatures, the council will have the option to enact or reject a petition-led proposal within 30 days of receiving it. Should the council not enact the proposal, it would go to a public vote during the next scheduled city election.
Patrick Bonnett, the director of the new organization seeking to kill Omaha's LGBT anti-bias law is pictured at left in a 2011 rally in Papillion, an Omaha suburb, during which Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, also a speaker, compared welfare recipients to racoons.
Among the many reactionary groups Bonnett likes on Facebook as of this writing is one called I hate it when I wake up in the morning and Barack Obama is President.
William Femi Awodele is a North Omaha "community leader," from Nigeria, a board member of the Nebraska Family Council and an executive director of his apparent business, Christian Couples Fellowship International, which has a website on which marriage-improvement DVDs for troubled heterosexuals (which cost up to $70) may be ordered.
Below: Awodele, who isn't a lawyer, failed last Spring to persuade the City Council not to adopt Omaha's LGBT anti-bias ordinance after arguing that gay people don't fit the legal definition of a minority — despite the fact that they have employment protection in about 170 US cities — and that a study by the University of Nebraska Medical Center indicates they have too much money to be considered a legitimate minority, anyway. He had more to say but was cut off because his time management skills were insufficient to comply with the council's five-minute rule.
Johnny Perez noted in the above-linked Omaha World-Herald article that a poll in March indicated 60% of voters citywide favored ordinances to prohibit discrimination against gay and transgender residents, while approximately 25 percent opposed them. City Councilman Ben Gray, who proposed the change to city ordinances, said: “This group, whoever it is, must seem to think discrimination against some people is OK,” said