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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 13, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 07
Sam Brownback hates you - Rescinds Kansas rule against employment discrimination
Section One
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Sam Brownback hates you - Rescinds Kansas rule against employment discrimination

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has rescinded an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT state employees in hiring and employment.

The Republican governor announced his decision February 10, three months after winning a tough reelection battle, and two months after federal courts legalized same-sex marriage in his state.

The executive order dated from August 2007, and was issued by Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius. The order applied to hiring and employment decisions by agencies under the governor's direct control and required them to create anti-harassment policies as well.

A Kansas state law prohibits discrimination in housing, private hiring, and employment but does not cover bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In 2009 Sebelius left office to become President Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary. Brownback became governor in 2010, after a notoriously anti-Gay career in Congress.

In a short statement Brownback charged that Sebelius had acted 'unilaterally' in issuing her order.

Brownback then issued a new order, reaffirming the state's commitment to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or religion.

'This executive order ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional 'protected classes' as the previous order did,' Brownback said.

'Any such expansion of 'protected classes' should be done by the Legislature and not through unilateral action.'

Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, the state's leading Gay-rights group, said the jobs of hundreds of LGBT state workers are now at risk, after they spent nearly a decade believing they were safe on the job after disclosing their orientation or gender identity.

'It's an outrage - an absolute outrage,' Witt said. 'I can conceive of no justifiable reason for doing this.'

As a U.S. Senator, Brownback received zeros in four out of five ratings by HRC because he opposed every single protection for LGBT Americans considered by Congress. He converted to Catholicism in 2002.

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