LGBTQ Nation reports:
Nebraska lawmakers are trying to resolve legal conflicts for same-sex couples who qualify for benefits at the federal level and in states that allow gay marriage or civil unions, but whose relationships aren’t recognized here. Lawmakers convened a hearing on Friday in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that tossed out part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for legally married same-sex couples to receive federal tax, health and pension benefits. The hearing focused on restrictions in place for same-sex couples in Nebraska that want to marry, or have done so in other states. Nebraska doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, under a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2000.
Could civil unions be on the table?
State Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, who supports same-sex marriage, has said he wants to explore a possible “middle ground” of civil unions, which he believes would receive stronger support from voters. “I can come up with no other conclusion than gay people in loving relationships are a massive benefit to our state and our society,” Ashford said Friday.
Chicago Cubs owner Pete Ricketts is running for Hovernor of Nebraska, and is having his anti-gay bonafides called into question.
The Cubs’ connection to the [Chicago gay pride] parade raised objections from a fellow Republican candidate, who said Thursday it called into question Ricketts’ gay-marriage opposition. Republican Beau McCoy said that Ricketts should be held responsible for the fact that the Cubs are supportive of the gay community. Ricketts said he had no involvement in that decision. He also said that despite some “difficult conversations” in his family, he and his sister remain family. “My sister is gay. I love her, but I disagree with her on this issue,” said Ricketts, an Omaha businessman.
Ricketts, Dubas and several of the other Nebraska gubernatorial candidates staked out their positions on gay marriage Thursday, the day before the Nebraska Legislature was set to hold a public hearing on the topic. In Nebraska, voters banned gay marriage in 2000. Gay couples who are legally married in other states qualify for federal benefits as the result of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. But their marriages are not recognized in Nebraska. All five Republican candidates say they want to keep it that way. Ricketts, McCoy, State Auditor Mike Foley and State Sens. Charlie Janssen and Tom Carlson are on record saying marriage should be between a man and a woman.
I just want to step back here for a moment and marvel that marriage equality is being talked about. In Nebraska. Wow.