The Omaha World-Herald
February 1, 2013

The fate of Omaha's legal protections for gay and transgender residents won't be placed into voters' hands this spring. A church-led effort to repeal the ordinance did not gather enough signatures in time to launch a referendum immediately, organizers said Thursday. The Omaha Liberty Project, sponsor of the petition effort, needed to submit roughly 11,400 valid resident signatures to the city today to potentially force a vote in May's general election. The group's volunteer petition circulators led months of signature gathering and community-organizing efforts, its leader said, but didn't collect enough signatures to account for potentially ineligible entries. The group has already missed a deadline to place the issue on the primary ballot. “We've got to be pretty darn close to the number we need,” said Patrick Bonnett, the group's executive director and a member of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District board. “Darn close, but we just didn't get it.”