Residents React After G.I. Rejects Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

Grand Island isn't the first to look into the issue, but it is the first community in recent years to shoot it down.

After 2 hours of discussion the votes were cast. An ordinance that would've protected anyone from being denied housing, employment or other accommodations based on their sexual orientation was struck down.

Jerry Beady is a Grand Island resident and he says the council acted correctly. "I'm real proud of Grand Island and that it was a vote of 8 to 2. I really feel they had good discussion on it and made the right call," said Beady.

But members of the LGBT community say it's a blow.

Judy Sandeen is a board member and former president of 'Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays', more commonly known as PFLAG. She says the decision is a step backwards.

"I was really disappointed in the outcome of the vote. This is probably what's always going to happen if the rights of a minority are voted upon by a majority. It's just a strange thing that rights are up for a vote," said Sandeen.

Grand Island resident Cherie Trisler says the council acted appropriately in the short amount of time they were given to consider it.
"Whether I agree or disagree with someone's lifestyle is not a good reason to discriminate against them, but at the same time, my belief is that the council's job is to represent the people and they needed time to figure out what the people of Grand Island really want," said Trisler.

What residents want, according to Council President Peg Gilbert, is less government interference in issues like this.

Other members said there hadn't been enough time to gather information about the ordinance. City councilman Mitch Nickerson simply said he didn't want Grand Island to be considered "gay friendly."

In the end, only Larry Carney and Linna Dee Donaldson voted in favor of the ordinance.

Omaha and Lincoln have already taken steps to institute "fairness" ordinances of their own. At this time, it is unknown if the council will revisit issue.

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