Opponents of Omaha, Nebraska's gay protections law have conceded that their petition drive to repeal the law has fallen short.

The Omaha World-Herald reported on Friday that the drive's sponsor, the Omaha Liberty Project, failed to gather the roughly 11,400 valid resident signatures needed to force a vote on the law in May's general election.

“We've got to be pretty darn close to the number we need,” said Patrick Bonnett, the group's executive director. “Darn close, but we just didn't get it.”

The Omaha City Council last spring approved the law, which outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of employment and service providers such as restaurants, hotels and bars.

Republicans in the Nebraska Legislature countered with a bill which sought to block cities and counties from enacting anti-discrimination rules beyond those which the state has approved. A Senate panel has indefinitely postponed a hearing on the bill.

While religious organizations are exempt from the law, the effort to repeal it was led by a coalition of local clergy and churches.

Opponents said they will continue their effort to get the issue on the ballot.