Current Affairs

LGBT discrimination bill gets reading in Kansas

Joseph McCormick January 2, 2016
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A bill which would protect LGBT people in Kansas against discrimination is to be read in the first week of the 2016 legislative session.

The bill HB 2323, was introduced by Representative John Carmichael just hours after Governor Sam Brownback revoked protections against discrimination for gay and lesbian state workers.

The protections were introduced by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Although the bill did not get a hearing last session, it will go to the House in this year’s first week of the new legislative session.

It will be read on 14 January, the fourth day in the new session.

The bill aims to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a pre-existing law protecting against religious, racial and gender-based discrimination.

“Where the bill progresses from there, I cannot offer a guarantee. I think it depends in large part on what happens in the hearing and quite frankly on what happens in society outside the Capitol as well,” Carmichael said.

He said that, although the US Supreme Court made a sweeping ruling to legalise same-sex marriage across all 50 US states, many LGBT Americans still face discrimination.

They do not have protection “from being fired for who they are and who they love,” he said.

Equality Kansas said at the time the protections for Kansas workers was removed: “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.

“If you work for the state, and have felt comfortable being ‘out’ at work knowing you had protection from bigotry, that protection is gone.

“If you work for the state, your measure of job performance is no longer the quality of your work, but rather who you love and go home to at the end of the day.

“It is a sad day for Kansas – not just for the LGBT community, but for our friends, our families, and our co-workers whose jobs are now at risk.”

Related topics: Discrimination, Kansas, US

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