OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Citing community opposition, the City Council unanimously rejected a request to erect a commemorative street sign for noted atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
The only person to speak in support of the proposal was the man who proposed it atheist Raymond Zbylut, who said the gesture would honor the civil rights work of O'Hair, who was not from Omaha.
Council members voted 6-0 to deny the request without discussing it. Councilman Garry Gernandt said afterward that nearly 200 constituents contacted him opposing the sign.
"They said we should keep religious and state issues separate," Gernandt said.
Another council member, Franklin Thompson, said his constituents also urged him to vote against the sign, while Councilman Jim Vokal said it clashed with community mores.
"Most people in Omaha believe in God, and naming a street after this individual didn't match the community," Vokal said.
Murray O'Hair, who filed a lawsuit that ultimately led the courts to bar organized prayer in public schools, disappeared in 1995. A former employee was convicted in her murder.