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Nebraska Family Alliance

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Nebraska Family Alliance
Established1988
MissionAdvancing Family, Freedom, and Life
FocusInfluencing Policy, Mobilizing Prayer, and Empowering People
PresidentJay Huston[1]
BudgetRevenue: $483,489
Expenses: $343,478
(FYE 2019)[2]
Address1106 E St, Lincoln, NE 68508
Location
Websitenebraskafamilyalliance.org

Nebraska Family Alliance (NFA) is a fundamentalist Christian 501(c)(3) organization based in Lincoln, Nebraska. It most prominently lobbies against LGBT rights, such as same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption. The NFA also seeks legal restrictions on abortion, and to change public policy on gambling and human trafficking. It advocates for traditional family structures and gender roles.

As a family policy council, the NFA is a state-level affiliate of Focus on the Family. The NFA's stated mission is to "advance family, freedom, and life by influencing policy, mobilizing prayer, and empowering people." The organization has been criticized as discriminatory and some LGBT publications have referred to it as a hate group.

Organization

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Nebraska Family Alliance was founded in 1988 as Nebraska Family Council (NFC). Its name changed to the current one when it merged with Family First, another Nebraska-based conservative organization, in 2013.[3]

NFA is a family policy council and aligned with Alliance Defending Freedom, Focus on the Family, and Family Policy Alliance.[4] Like its allies, the NFA advocates for conservative social goals that it calls "family values."

In a review of Former Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenberg's book Eavesdropping on Lucifer, NFA's executive director encouraged readers to "[overcome] forces of evil" in order to ensure "families thrive, life is cherished and religious freedom flourishes.”[5]

The NFA ended their participation in Give to Lincoln Day, a local fundraising campaign, in 2023 because the campaign would have required them to agree to a nondiscrimination policy covering sexual orientation and gender identity. Being forced to not discriminate, according to NFA officials, "undermines their very mission."[6]

Criticism

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Critics of the NFA have viewed the organization as discriminatory, calling it "the lobbying organization that turns Nebraskan conservative Christian fear into law."[7]

Several LGBT publications refer to the organization as a hate group.[8][9][10] In an interview, Executive Director Karen Bowling shared that some critics had begun selling t-shirts that read "NFA is a Hate Group."[11]

History of Policy Efforts

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Marriage and divorce

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In its early days, NFA was focused on opposition to divorce. They supported "making divorces harder to get by increasing the waiting period for them to become final"[12] and other efforts against no-fault divorce.

The NFA opposes gay marriage, calling it a part of the "homosexual agenda"[13]

The organization led the successful 2000 ballot initiative that amended the Nebraska Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.[14] Guyla Mills, organizer of the ballot initiate petition drive and NFA Executive Director, explained her organization's motivation at a January 2001 victory celebration. "We are not hate mongers," she said, addressing protesters on the street outside the celebration venue. "This is not about hate, this is about love. The Defense of Marriage Act movement was just a platform we had to share the love of Jesus Christ."[15]

Intelligent design

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NFA advocates for intelligent design, a pseudoscientific explanation of biology, to be included as curriculum in Nebraska schools.[16]

Adoption

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From 2000 to 2002, lawyers for the organization fought a court battle against a lesbian couple who were attempting to adopt a child. NFC lawyers won the case, In re Adoption of Luke, in the Nebraska Supreme Court. This set precedent prohibiting gay and unmarried adoption throughout the state.[17][18]

In 2007, the Nebraska Legislature considered a bill that would allow gay couples to adopt.[19] Executive Director Dave Bydalek testified against the bill, saying "kids are better off with loving parents of both sexes."[20] The measure failed; adoption by same-sex couples was prohibited in Nebraska until 2017.[21]

Domestic assault

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The organization opposed a 2004 attempt to modernize Nebraska domestic assault law to use the phrase "intimate partner" to include unmarried couples. Family First Executive Director Dave Bydalek stated "I am aware there are domestic assaults involved in dating, but the public policy of recognizing dating and other types of relationships outside the context of marriage cheapens the importance of marriage in our society." Al Riskowski of Nebraska Family Council said that legally recognizing two people living together is "recognizing an immoral situation. That is not upholding the family."[22]

Human trafficking

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NFA has worked to raise awareness about human trafficking and supported the first anti-trafficking law in 2006 that made human-trafficking illegal under Nebraska law.[citation needed] In 2019 NFA supported legislation granting law enforcement the authority to utilize wire-taps in trafficking investigations and to expand the statute of limitations for prosecuting trafficking crimes.[23] NFA also backed legislation in 2018 to allow trafficking victims’ criminal records to be expunged of charges that were a result of trafficking,[24] and in 2017 advocated for a law increasing criminal penalties for trafficking offenses for both traffickers and buyers.[25]

LGBT protections

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The organization opposed Nebraska's first attempt to legally prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in 1995, which they viewed as a "homosexual agenda" to silence Christian business.[26]

In 2012, shortly before their merger, Family First and Nebraska Family Council jointly led a successful petition drive against an attempt to ban LGBT employment, housing and public accommodations discrimination in Lincoln.[27] Firing an employee, evicting a renter, and ejecting a customer from a business for reason of sexual orientation remained legal in Lincoln until Bostock v. Clayton County prohibited employment discrimination in 2020.

NFA lobbied in opposition to a series of LGBT anti-discrimination bills in the Nebraska legislature from 2015[28] to 2019.[29]

The NFA opposes a Lincoln ordinance extending employment and workplace protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and active military or veteran status. They collected 18,000 signatures in opposition to it in 2022.[30]

Gambling

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NFA opposes state-sponsored gambling and in 2016 helped defeat a ballot initiative attempting to legalize casino gambling.[31][failed verification]

Fetal alcohol syndrome

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NFA also raised awareness about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and the alcohol-related issues plaguing the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation stemming from the sale of alcohol in the unincorporated village of Whiteclay, Nebraska.[32]

Abortion

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They identify as a pro-life organization and support restrictions on abortion. In 2019 NFA advocated for a law requiring abortion providers to inform women seeking a medication abortion about the possibility of continuing their pregnancy after beginning a medication abortion.[33] Such legislation has drawn criticism from professional medical associations. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a fact sheet stating "claims regarding abortion 'reversal' treatment are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards."[34] The American Medical Association filed a lawsuit to block similar legislation from being enacted in North Dakota.[35]

Conversion therapy

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The NFA hosts ex-gay speakers at its events. Michael Johnston, who "helps people leave the homosexual lifestyle" gave the keynote at the Day of Family in 2000.[36]

In 2019 NFA testified before the Nebraska Legislature in support of keeping conversion therapy legal in Nebraska. NFA cited the bill's broad definition of conversion therapy that would criminalize self-directed talk-therapy.[37]

Religious freedom

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NFA's website says of religious freedom: "Due to the ever increasing size of government and the development of same-sex marriage, this fundamental freedom is at risk."[38] NFA invited Jack Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman to speak at a 2018 fundraiser[39] as exemplars of religious freedom because both had declined to provide wedding services to same-sex couples.[40][41]

NFA supported legislation in 2017 that passed into law to protect the religious freedom rights of teachers by repealing a decades-old law that prohibited teachers from wearing any religious dress or garb.[42]

NFA also hosts an annual National Day of Prayer event and promotes proclamations recognizing "Religious Freedom Day" in Nebraska.[43]

Notable people

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  • Russ Gronewold, CEO of Bryan Health, former NFA board member.[44]
  • L. Steven Grasz, a federal judge appointed by Donald Trump in 2017, former NFA board member[45] who resigned from the board in 2017.[46]
  • Jeff Downing, lawyer and former NFA president. Downing's estranged transgender child has spoken out against the NFA.[47]

References

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  1. ^ "Corporate & Business search". Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  2. ^ "Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax" (PDF). IRS. 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  3. ^ Hicks, Nancy (October 3, 2013). "Two Nebraska conservative groups merge". Lincoln Journal Star. Lincoln, NE. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  4. ^ "Allies". Family Policy Alliance. 12 June 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-09-29.
  5. ^ "Former state official writes book about the Devil, Devil's apprentice". McCook Gazette. May 1, 2020.
  6. ^ Chibe, Matt (May 12, 2023). "Religious nonprofit ditches Give to Lincoln Day over anti-discrimination request". KLKN TV.
  7. ^ Avery, Daniel (September 13, 2019). "Transgender Barista Fired After Harassing Anti-LGBT Lobbyist: 'Get Out And Don't Come Back!'". Newsweek. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  8. ^ Clifford, Michelle (April 3, 2022). "Furry-tales: The organized hate effort against LGBTQ+ young people". Los Angeles Blade.
  9. ^ Carnivele, Gary (March 9, 2022). "NE Hate Group Forces State Capital's City Council To Repeal LGBT Rights Ordinance Or Put It To Public Vote". We The People. Sonoma, California.
  10. ^ "Hate Group Forces Repeal Of Lincoln LGBTQ Rights Law". Joe My God. June 15, 2022.
  11. ^ Ourada, Jackie (June 16, 2022). "Here's Why the Lincoln City Council Didn't Pass the 'Fairness Ordinance'". Nebraska Public Media.
  12. ^ Stoddard, Martha (October 30, 1997). "Bill creates new option for marriage".Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  13. ^ Crary, David (January 22, 2001). "Battle over gay couples' rights heating up". Iowa City Press-Citizen. The Associated Press.
  14. ^ Associated Press (May 23, 2000) – "Nebraska petition effort wants to ban same-sex marriages". Sioux City Journal
  15. ^ Baker, Tess N. (January 12, 2001). "Family Council celebrates". Journal Star. Lincoln, Nebraska. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  16. ^ Bauer, Scott (May 10, 2002). "Using theories other than evolution urged". Lincoln Journal Star. Free access icon
  17. ^ "In Re Adoption of Luke". Justia US Law. March 8, 2002. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  18. ^ Mabin, Butch (September 28, 2001). "Group files brief in adoption case". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  19. ^ "Lawmakers consider allowing gay couples to adopt". Lincoln Journal Star. Associated Press. March 19, 2007. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  20. ^ "Judiciary Committee" (PDF). Nebraska Legislature. Clerk of the Legislature. March 20, 2007. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  21. ^ "Nebraska court rules to end ban on LGBT foster parents". Boston 25 News. April 9, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  22. ^ Hicks, Nancy (April 16, 2004). "Redefining 'intimate partner'". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  23. ^ Schulte, Grant, "Nebraska may take new steps to prosecute human traffickers", The Associated Press, May 12, 2019
  24. ^ "Nebraska Legislative Bill 1132 Committee Statement", February 9, 2018
  25. ^ Duggan, Joe, "Nebraska legislators’ approval of harsher human trafficking penalties sheds light on extent of crime", "The Omaha World Herald", May 21, 2017
  26. ^ Committee on Business and Labor (PDF) (Report). February 17, 1995. p. 24—25.
  27. ^ Hicks, Nancy (May 29, 2012). "Opponents to 'fairness ordinance' hand in 10,000 signatures". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  28. ^ Nohr, Emily (February 23, 2017). "Dozens testify for and against Nebraska proposal to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  29. ^ "How will LB 627 affect my business?" (PDF). Nebraska Family Alliance. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  30. ^ "Lincoln's Fairness Ordinance put on hold after petition gets 18,000 signatures". 10/11 NOW. March 1, 2022.
  31. ^ "Nebraska casino gambling measure fails to make 2016 ballot","10/11 News", August 11, 2016
  32. ^ Pluhacek, Zach, "Ending Whiteclay beer sales a 'human life issue' to social conservatives", "The Lincoln Journal Star", August 28, 2017
  33. ^ "Area senator introduces pro-woman, pro-life legislation", "Norfolk Daily News", January 12, 2019
  34. ^ American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (August 2017). "Facts Are Important: Medication Abortion "Reversal" Is Not Supported by Science" (PDF). Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  35. ^ Siemaszko, Corky (2 July 2019). "American Medical Association sues after North Dakota passes abortion 'reversal' law". NBC News. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  36. ^ Reeves, Bob (January 14, 2000). "'Ex-homosexual' speaks about family values at day of family". Lincoln Journal Star.
  37. ^ Stoddard, Martha (February 8, 2019). "Therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation would be banned for minors under Nebraska bill". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  38. ^ "Religious Freedom". Nebraska Family Alliance. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  39. ^ "2018 Gala". Nebraska Family Alliance. Archived from the original on July 18, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  40. ^ "Do You Know What's At Stake In Jack Phillips' Supreme Court Case?". Nebraska Family Alliance. June 25, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  41. ^ "Supreme Court Issues Order In Barronelle Stutzman's Case". Nebraska Family Alliance. November 8, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  42. ^ "Protection for teachers’ religious rights proposed", "Unicameral Update", January 17, 2017
  43. ^ "Nebraska Governor proclaims Religious Freedom Day","NTV News", January 16, 2018
  44. ^ Olberding, Matt (December 10, 2019). "Kim Russel reflects on her time at Bryan as Gronewold prepares to take over as president/CEO". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  45. ^ Rawles, Lee (November 1, 2017). "8th Circuit nominee answers senators' questions on 'not qualified' rating". ABA Journal. American Bar Association. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  46. ^ Ruiz, Rebecca R.; Gebeloff, Robert; Eder, Steve; Protess, Ben (March 14, 2020). "A Conservative Agenda Unleashed on the Federal Courts". The New York Times.
  47. ^ Clifford, Michelle (April 3, 2022). "Furry-tales: The organized hate effort against LGBTQ+ young people". Los Angeles Blade.
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