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Citizens react after LGBT law voted down in Grand Island
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals will not be protected under any anti-discrimination law in Grand Island. That's because Tuesday night, the Grand Island city council voted against such measures. The vote was 8 to 2.
There's a fine line community members expressed to News 5 Wednesday. Morality versus equal rights. Did some council members get caught up in what they perceive as a lifestyle, that some say isn't a choice, or did they really consider the issue of equal rights?
"I'm just terribly disappointed. I think its a huge step backwards for Grand Island a vote against discrimination is a vote for discrimination," said Judy Sandeen.
Judy Sandeen is the former president of the PFLAG a support group for LGBT families in Hastings.
News 5: Did you expect the ordinance to pass?
"Unfortunately, no. I know where I live. I know what South Central Nebraska is like," said Sandeen.
One of the arguments from last night's city council meeting evolved around morality versus equal rights.
"Our sacred texts talk about the issue of same gender relationships and if there's not any disagreement about how God and our savior called us to treat those around us," said a pastor.
"I'm concerned about making sure whatever we do is compatible with the law of our state and the law of our country," said council member Scott Dugan.
Brian Whitecalf is in favor of having an anti-discrimination law, but says some just couldn't go beyond their religious views.
"Some of those individuals sat there for hours just to disapprove of my way of life, just to disapprove of who I am," Whitecalf said.
Others opposed to the law say it gives LGBT individuals preferential treatment.
"I come from a Mennonite background and in some ways they have been a persecuted people over many centuries and yet have managed to survive successfully without special loss for them," said an opponent.
"Most places there are enough of the right rules and regulations in place that that shouldn't happen that we'd have to make a special rule or regulation for those particular people," another opponent said.
Because there was so much division at Tuesday night's meeting, council members did make an attempt to let voters decide.
But after a 5 to 5 tie Mayor Vavricek refused to cast a vote citing a conflict of interest due to the recall efforts.
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