Nebraska lawmakers form political action committee to fight anti-LGBTQ legislation nationwide

By: - April 3, 2023 6:21 pm

Protesters carry flags in front of the Nebraska State Capitol for LGBTQ and transgender Nebraskans on Friday, March 31, 2023, in Lincoln, Neb. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — Three Nebraska lawmakers announced Monday they are forming a political action committee to fight anti-LGBTQ legislation in Nebraska but also nationwide.

State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha speaks at a rally on March 24, 2023, in the Nebraska State Capitol. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

State Sens. Machaela Cavanaugh, Megan Hunt and John Fredrickson, all of Omaha, announced the Don’t Legislate Hate PAC, which will support legislators fighting against more than 400 anti-LGBTQ laws being considered nationwide.

Cavanaugh told the Nebraska Examiner that while the PAC is based in Nebraska, they will also be “keeping an eye” on what is going on nationally. The hope is to grow beyond the borders of the Cornhusker State.

“It’s about giving people a place to direct resources if they have them with the intention of using those resources to change the conversation … that there is no place in our government for legislating hate,” Cavanaugh said.

For weeks, a handful of senators have brought the Legislature to a near standstill over opposition to Legislative Bill 574, which would restrict certain gender-affirming care for minors, including puberty blockers, hormone therapies and genital or non-genital surgeries. 

State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha, who introduced the bill, has a pending amendment to prohibit only surgeries. Legislators voted 30-17 to advance the bill on March 23.

No legislation has been passed in 2023 in part due to the filibusters.

Cavanaugh said on “GMA3,” announcing the PAC, that there is a crisis in the country, at least in Nebraska, and that legislators need to stand up.

“These policies are an attempt to diminish, dehumanize [and] demoralize the transgender people in Nebraska and across this country,” Cavanaugh told “GMA3” on Monday. “And we collectively, no matter what political party we belong to, need to stand up against that.”

State Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha speaks on the floor of the Nebraska Legislature on March 22, 2023, in Lincoln, Neb. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Hunt said in a statement that the PAC will support lawmakers continuing to defend LGBTQ people and will “hold others accountable for hateful legislation that amounts to blatant discrimination against an entire group of people.”

The ACLU is tracking 449 anti-LGBTQ bills in 2023, which Fredrickson said the PAC will help address.“I’m hopeful that we can not only get back to the work of the people here in Nebraska but encourage other state legislators across the country to stand up to hate and represent all people,” Fredrickson said in a statement.

John Fredrickson speaks at an LGBTQ rally
State Sen. John Fredrickson of Omaha speaks at a rally for trans youth on Feb. 8, 2023, in the Nebraska State Capitol. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Hunt and Fredrickson, the state’s first openly bisexual and gay state legislators, will co-chair the PAC with Cavanaugh.

There are people worldwide who are feeling hopeful, Cavanaugh said, because some elected officials are coming forward and saying certain legislation is “wrong,” which she said is OK to say.

“Not only is it OK, but it is warranted and it is what the people need from their elected officials,” Cavanaugh said. “I’m excited to have an opportunity to have something positive to direct energy towards for the future of Nebraska and the country.”


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Zach Wendling
Zach Wendling

Zach Wendling recently graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a double major in journalism and political science. He has interned for The Hill and The News Station in Washington, D.C. He reported for the Nebraska News Service and The Daily Nebraskan before joining the Nebraska Examiner staff as an intern.