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Lincoln senator pushing LGBTQ resolution to affirm, celebrate Supreme Court anti-discrimination ruling

Lincoln senator pushing LGBTQ resolution to affirm, celebrate Supreme Court anti-discrimination ruling

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Legislature 7.30

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks talks on the phone while wearing a face shield and a mask during the legislative session.

Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, who introduced and prioritized a bill that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, conceded this week there would be no time to return to her bill this session. 

So she introduced a resolution, instead, that would affirm and celebrate the June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that accomplished the same thing nationally. 

With sufficient time, she would have liked to have harmonized Nebraska law with the court's decision, she said. But she will spend her time next session on additional legislation for LGBTQ rights. 

The bill (LB627), which did not get a full first round of debate before the Legislature adjourned because of the coronavirus threat, would make discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity unlawful for an employer with 15 or more employees, employers with state contracts regardless of the number of employees, the State of Nebraska, government agencies and political subdivisions.

Current law prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, marital status or national origin.

"What the Legislature is doing with this resolution is demonstrating an ongoing commitment to inclusivity and also affirming the value and worth of LGBTQ+ individuals and families," she said. 

The resolution (LR466) has 27 cosponsors, which include Democrats, Republicans and an independent. 

With the resolution, she said, the Legislature sends a strong message to employers who may be considering locating or expanding here and workers that Nebraska is committed to being welcoming and inclusive, including for people in the LGBTQ community. 

She decided to bring the resolution, she said, after the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission made clear that the components of her bill and more were fully covered by the Supreme Court decision.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature

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