LINCOLN, NEB(KPTM)--State lawmakers are considering expanding gay rights in Nebraska.
The hearings for three separate bills went before the Legislature's Judiciary Committee Thursday afternoon.
The first, LB485 presented by Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad would prevent businesses from discriminating against employees or applicants based on their sexual orientation or marital status. Religious groups would not have to comply with that.
The second, LB385 presented by Sen. Jeremy Nordquist would ban discrimination when it comes to child placement in foster care.
LB380, presented by Sen. Sara Howard would allow two unmarried adults adopt a child jointly.
The last caught the attention of many couples currently trying to adopt.
Jessie Dixon and Sara Campagna both take care of their two children together.
They enjoy the good together and clean up the messes together.
But under current Nebraska law, only Sara is considered four-year-old Adam's and four-month-old Aidan's mom.
That's not necessarily because the two are a lesbian couple, but because they aren't married.
Since she can't legally adopt either child, Jessie doesn't have a lot of the legal rights other parents do.
"Visitation rights in the hospital or medical decisions as they get older, any type of decisions dealing with schooling, even something as simple as picking up a child from the school without any issues," said Jessie.
The bill wouldn't just allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt, it would allow all unmarried couples to jointly adopt.
Those supporting the bill said it's all about protecting the children.
If anything were to happen to Sara, Jessie wouldn't have the legal rights to hold on to the two boys. Aidan would likely be taken into foster care and then adopted out elsewhere even though he's always known Jessie as one of his mothers.
But it also keeps people who co-adopt a child responsible.
"It's that sort of injustice that this remedies, it's not only for relationships that continue to move forward and a person dies, it's also a relationship where people plan for a child together and one wants to walk away, that's not fair to the child and the law shouldn't tolerate that," said a representative from the ACLU.
Others saw it differently.
"Shall we further disrespect god and change his word from honor they father and mother to honor they father and father and honor thy mother and mother, realizing we need homes for our foster children, but two wrongs do not make a right," said one person testifying at Thursday's hearing.
But Sara says the bill isn't just about gay rights.
"It's about the rights of children to have two loving parents," Sara said. "Just because you gave birth to a child does not make you the parent, it's the love that comes out of it that gives a child the family, the foundation, the stability and every single child deserves that."