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Omaha City Councilman Franklin Thompson, who's expected to be a key swing vote in an effort to offer new legal protections to gay and transgender residents, says he's willing to support the proposal.
After scuttling a similar proposal in 2010 by refusing to break a 3-3 tie, Thompson said today that he hopes to find a compromise with his council colleagues later this afternoon when they debate and vote on amending the city's anti-discrimination ordinances to include gay and transgender residents.
"I want to support it," Thompson said. "But the question is, can they give me something that I can support and be at peace with?"
"It truly is coming down to me asking some questions," he said. "I've come a long way. I'm ready to say 'yes' to that."
The amendments to city ordinances would allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents to file complaints with Omaha's Human Rights and Relations Department if they were fired over their sexual orientation, suffered other workplace discrimination or were refused service at restaurants, hotels or other places that serve the public.
Thompson said he has concerns with current language in the proposal that defines "gender identity" as "the actual or perceived appearance, expression, identity or behavior of a person as being male or female, whether or not that appearance, expression, identity or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's designated sex at birth."
Thompson also said he needs to review polling data released by gay rights advocates this week that concluded a majority of those surveyed in his council district support the proposal.
Today's council meeting will begin at 2 p.m. in the council chambers at the City-County Building, 1819 Farnam St.
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