Click here for a PDF of Councilman Garry Gernandt proposed amendment.
Look back on coverage of Tuesday's public hearing on Ben Gray's proposed amendments to city discrimination laws.
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An Omaha City Council member has proposed limiting gay and transgender discrimination protections solely to city employees.
Proposed Thursday by council member Garry Gernandt, the move would overhaul a measure scheduled for a City Council vote next week that would offer such protections citywide.
Gernandt asked the city's Legal Department to craft the amendment to narrow the focus of council member Ben Gray's proposal.
Gernandt's proposal would remove the protections for public accommodation and exemptions for religious groups included in the current proposal.
Discrimination protections for gay and transgender residents would apply only to city hiring, advertising and applications.
“I thought that we needed to start somewhere and then continue to build on that,” Gernandt said of his proposal. “But blanketing the city with this, I'm just not sure that's the right thing to do at this moment.”
The South Omaha councilman's amendment would substantially revise Gray's effort to change the city's anti-discrimination ordinances.
Gray has proposed adding gay and transgender residents to the city's list of classes protected from discrimination in employment and public accommodation.
“I'm not supporting that,” Gray said of Gernandt's proposal. “Don't try to game people like that.”
Requested on the heels of a lengthy and emotional public hearing Tuesday, Gernandt's proposed amendment illustrates the divide among council members on the issue.
Gernandt voted against a similar effort in 2010, along with council President Thomas Mulligan and council member Jean Stothert.
Council members will debate and vote on both Gernandt's and Gray's proposals next Tuesday.
“I just think that it's important that we have the discussion,” Gernandt said of his proposal.
“We don't meet until Tuesday. That certainly gives every council member time to do his or her own due diligence.”
Council members also will vote on a separate amendment to clarify exemptions for religious groups.
In 2010, Mayor Jim Suttle issued an executive order expressing zero tolerance for discrimination against anyone. He included sexual orientation in that order, which city departments are expected to follow.
Suttle has said he will sign the ordinance for gay and transgender legal protections, if it passes.
Gernandt said his amendment would be more detailed than Suttle's order and carry the weight of law.
“One's an executive order and one's an ordinance. There's a difference between the two,” he said.
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Ask questions and follow along with live coverage of Tuesday's Omaha City Council meeting, where the council is expected to vote on the ordinance.