The Grand Island City Council has overridden a mayoral veto and enacted city employment protection for gay, bisexual and transgender people - a small reversal of the council's rejection of much broader protections last month.
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - The proposal was approved on a 6-4 vote Tuesday night, The Grand Island Independent reported (http://bit.ly/Qd8oLa ). Then the council voted 8-2 to override a veto by Mayor Jay Vavricek.
Last month, the council rejected a measure that would have barred businesses from discriminating against current or prospective employees based on their sexual orientation. It also would have covered housing and retail situations.
The ordinance change Tuesday night adds protection to only city policies and doesn't affect any other employer in the south-central Nebraska community.
State and federal laws bar discrimination based on race, ethnic origin and other factors in jobs, housing and other settings. But neither state nor federal laws expressly bar discrimination against homosexual, bisexual or transgender people.
Councilman Scott Dugan said his constituents were against the proposal and said there was no data showing the protection was needed. Councilman Mitch Nickerson saw the protection as a "statement of support with no teeth" if the ordinance didn't require the city to collect data on how many gay, bisexual or transgender people were or weren't hired after applying for city jobs.
After hearing from the council members, Vavricek vetoed the proposal as merely symbolic.
The veto prompted Nickerson and Councilman Chuck Haase to change sides, in effect, as they supported an override.
Policy decisions were the province of the council, Nickerson told the mayor.
"I believe the council has spoken," Nickerson said.
Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com
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