Republican Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas today (Tuesday, Feb. 10) rescinded a nondiscrimination order signed by his predecessor barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by most government agencies.
According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed the executive order in 2007 requiring “agencies under the governor’s direct control to ensure they have programs to prevent harassment against gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and people who have had surgery for sex changes.” It covered 25,000 of the 41,000 state employees, the CJ reported.
Brownback said Sebelius’ order was unilateral and should have occurred at the legislative level.
“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 in a statement. “Any such expansion of ‘protected classes’ should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action. The order also reaffirms our commitment to hiring, mentoring and recognizing veterans and individuals with disabilities.”
Equality Kansas slammed the move in a statement. “This action by the governor is an outrage. Gay, lesbian, and transgender state employees across Kansas have trusted they would be safe from discrimination and harassment in their workplace but Sam Brownback has, by erasing their job protections, declared “open season” on every one of them,” said the group’s head Tom Witt.