Gary Wasdin, the head of the Omaha Public Library system, has decided to take a job heading one of the best library systems in the U.S., in King County Washington, a state where he can marry his partner of 10 years. From the Omaha World-Herald, where the comments, so far, are scorching:
Wasdin, 47, said it grew frustrating to see his counterparts in other states have that freedom as Nebraska leadership fights for the state’s constitutional gay marriage ban.Nebraska's attorney general Jon Bruning and the state's lame-duck Governor, Dave Heineman, are two of the most anti-LGBT GOP state politicians in the country.
...But here, his partner couldn’t get health benefits through Wasdin’s job with the city.
In November, Gov. Dave Heineman said Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban is positive for the state. Asked then if that invites same-sex couples to leave Nebraska, Heineman responded, “It’s their choice.”Before being elected Omaha's mayor, Jean Stothert was a firm City Council opponent of Omaha's recently-passed LGBT-rights ordinance (which does not cover housing). Excerpts from her condescending speech to LGBTs in the City Council chambers were posted to YouTube by AKSARBENT and may be seen at the bottom of this post.
“There’s a lot of good reasons to live here in Nebraska,” he said. “And, again, one of those is because we value that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
When asked whether she worries about losing other employees over the issue of same-sex marriage, Mayor Jean Stothert said gay marriage is outside her purview. But she said Wasdin is leaving for a “great opportunity.”The above crap excuse by Jean Stothert perfectly illustrates her fundamental dishonesty. She pretends that the only way to treat gay couples equally in partner benefits is to "negotiate" with city unions. Yeah, she can do that. Or she could do what Chris Beutler, the mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska's capitol and second largest city, announced last week:
“The primary reason Gary accepted a new position was it was a great opportunity with a much larger library system,” she said. “I am not worried about losing employees for a great opportunity. I am happy for them.”
Stothert added that city unions could negotiate partner benefits into their contracts. She said she is willing to negotiate “on this and any other number of subjects.”
Mayor Chris Beutler recently approved changes that will allow same-sex spouses of city employees to receive health insurance and other benefits.Unlike Mayor Stothert, who has been pressuring Omaha libraries recently to give out patron information to the police without a court order, some Omahans are sorry to see Wasdin go:
Beutler’s decision to accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s definition of marriage, which includes same-sex marriages, opens the door to city benefits being extended to same-sex spouses of city employees. The city’s insurance carrier changed its definition of marriage following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.
“The city accepted the new definition because it doesn't make sense to deny legally married same-sex couples the same insurance benefits that we grant to other legally married couples,” said Rick Hoppe, Beutler's chief of staff.
“He’s really elevated the position in the last five years,” said Mike Meyer, chairman of the library Board of Trustees.
City Councilman Ben Gray said he’s sorry to see Wasdin leave.
“We’re losing a really good guy,” Gray said.