Where Dave Stands

On The Issues

Equality & Civil Rights

Legal Protections for All - LGBT & Universal Civil Rights, Employment Nondiscrimination

America’s stature and richness as a nation is a product of its diversity. Yet, the history of the United States is replete with battles against resistance to diversity and acceptance of one another as Americans. African Americans, women, Native Americans, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Hispanics, and members of the LGBT community… all Americans or aspiring Americans, and all had to battle for acceptance. This is the regrettable side of our history.

As our nation has evolved, so has the evolution of its history of finding more, new, and different disappointing ways to express hatred, and to discriminate.  But, we overcome. We always eventually overcome.

The United States started on the wrong foot. As originally written, our Constitution counted only white men. A black man counted for two-thirds. Native Americans and women had no rights and were not recognized under any circumstances in our Constitution.

After 80 years and a civil war, we accomplished something, but not enough. Black men were counted as whole persons in the census. But, no women were counted, and discrimination continued against persons of color and women. It continued against all except white males with conventional orientations and lifestyles.

Progress came slowly. A Nebraska court pronounced the landmark decision declaring Ponca Chief Standing Bear a person under the Constitution, about a decade after the Civil War. A constitutional amendment extending voting rights to women, supported by Nebraska’s fabled US Senator George Norris finally came in 1920.

The civil rights movement made progress, largely propelled along by a Nebraska native, Malcolm X, and supported by the critical role played by Nebraskan, Preston Love, Jr., in the presidential campaign of Jessie Jackson.

Despite these steps, our history still reveals more, and new expressions of hatred and discrimination. This continues until today. And, it requires that we continue to overcome…today.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and persons with transgender orientations have long suffered abuse, bullying, disrespect, and discrimination.

This must end!

Every human being, regardless of race, creed, gender, age, or orientation, is entitled to the same legal protections, civil rights, compensation for an equal day’s work, and all other aspects of legal, social, and employment respect. No one is entitled to an advantage because of status.

What Does This Mean?

We must take proactive steps, and express proactive positions, to overcome hatred and discrimination. These steps include, at long last, a universal Declaration of Equal Legal Protection.

Properly expressed, a universal Declaration of Equal Legal Protection means these basic things:

  1. The United States Constitution’s guarantees of civil rights apply equally to every human being. No distinctions are permitted based upon one’s race, gender, orientation, age, creed, status, or national origin.
  2. Discrimination in employment must be impermissible. So must harassment on the job.
  3. All persons must be protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and federal law must prohibit such discrimination.
  4. LGBT people must be protected, by federal law, from discrimination in employment, including the risk of termination, denial of promotions, or harassment.
  5. Effective recourse for job discrimination and other infringements on civil rights must be provided and extended to members of the LGBT community, as to others.
  6. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”) must be enacted. This would emulate the basic fairness policies and non-discrimination practices initiated by more than 100 major corporations holding membership in the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness, a group supporting ENDA.
  7. All forms of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the military must end. To the extent they have already been outlawed, reinvigorated practices and protective mechanisms must be enacted.
  8. Religious-based discrimination against anyone must be prohibited.
  9. Laws must be passed to criminalize bullying when essential elements of proof are established beyond a reasonable doubt. These must include criminal intent, actual bullying or taunting, or preparation of plans to taunt or bully.
  10. Prohibitions against discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity must be incorporated into the Nebraska Administrative Code and mirror federal law prohibiting discrimination on these bases. Accordingly, access to appropriate mental health care must be assured for LGBT youth, who face enhanced suicide risk, and other members of the LGBT community.
  11. LGBT community members must be recognized as suffering special, identifiable, and quantifiable enhanced risks by bullies. Legal protections to impose significant penalties upon those who engage in bullying are essential.
  12. The Marriage Equality Act introduced by members of Congress should be enacted to end current law which prevents some married same-sex couples from receiving inheritances, enjoying parenting, adoption, custody, employment, and benefits rights, and to make these rights incidental to same gender, and opposite gender marriages. The proposed law makes enormous strides toward ensuring that same-sex couples are treated fairly under the law.
  13. Nebraska’s Constitution must be amended to eliminate the current prohibition against same-gender marriages. Same-gender marriage must be recognized universally and approved through legal process, uniformly and coextensively, across the United States.
  14. The unprecedented and historic effort known as Project One America must succeed and be expanded beyond southern states to the nation. This effort must include education and training programs, including education at the earliest reasonable time, for all young people to help them understand gender differences.
  15. Consistent human rights must be recognized and no group may be excluded from, or discriminated against, in the enjoyment of those rights.


I am committed to extending and assuring the uniform availability of every right guaranteed by the United States Constitution for each and all Americans. Distinctions, differences, and diversity are to be celebrated, honored, and respected, and those with different orientations must be protected, with the full force and effect of the law.

The United States is diminished when any person or any group is denied equal protection of the law. Our nation’s constant struggle at overcoming newly-learned expressions of hatred and denial toward individual groups of Americans must end.

Until this does not happen to any group of any size any longer, the American ideal must be seen as evolving, and our responsibility must include the effort to assure its evolution reaches an eventual, permanent, universal, and articulated set of ideals and rights. No one must be left out.

As this occurs, we must never permit our laws to elevate artificial legal entities or legal fictions like corporations to the status of citizens or persons. We must all have equal rights to form corporations and equal rights to be free of abuse by them.