Report: Lincoln failing on gay rights, Omaha on cusp

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December 3rd, 2012

Omaha, NE – The city of Lincoln is failing as a gay-friendly community, while Omaha is faring better, but is still on the cusp. That’s according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign, which is one of the country’s largest advocacy groups for LGBT equality.

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In its annual Municipality Equality Index, the HRC rated 137 cities in all 50 states for their treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

A public hearing in Omaha March 6 to consider passing LGBT anti-discrimination protections drew hundreds of impassioned supporters and opponents. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

Out of a possible 100 points, the city of Omaha received 59, while Lincoln trailed behind with 34.

Omaha scored points for having anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people on the books, while Lincoln lost points there. Lincoln did receive a couple of bonus points for attempting to get a protective ordinance passed, although that stalled after it was sent to a public vote.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociology professor Helen Moore asks the regents to approve health benefits for unmarried partners. (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

Omaha also received points for providing domestic partner health benefits and including a human rights commission and LGBT liaison on city staff. The city scored a zero in one section of the report for having no recognition for domestic partner relationships.

Across the country, the HRC said the report showed progress in the cause for LGBT equality. 11 cities scored 100% and a quarter of the cities scored 80 points or higher.

The HRC says it compiles the reports because the earliest victories for LGBT equality took place on the local level. The report celebrates that progress, it says, while working to accelerate improvement in cities lagging behind.

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