Attorney General Jon Bruning has issued an opinion that cities cannot exceed state statutes when drawing up anti-discrimination laws, which calls into question the legality of Omaha’s recently passed gay rights ordinance and a similar ordinance being considered in Lincoln.
“Cities have no authority to expand protected classifications to include sexual orientation,” Bruning said in a press statement. “Nebraska statutes do not authorize political subdivisions in Nebraska, including municipalities, to expand protected classifications beyond the scope of the civil rights classifications created in state statute.”
In March, the Omaha City Council passed an ordinance protecting gay and transgendered people from discrimination. And on Monday, the Lincoln City Council is scheduled to have a public hearing on whether to protect gay and transgendered people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation. That meeting begins at 3 p.m.
The Lincoln mayor’s office has scheduled a press conference at 1:30 p.m. today to talk about Bruning’s opinion.