Kansas to reinstate LGBT anti-discrimination protections
Kansas governor-elect Laura Kelly has promised to reinstate LGBT+ anti-discrimination protections in the state.
Kelly revealed plans for an executive order to reinstate protections for LGBT+ employees who may face discrimination at work, which were first rescinded in 2015 under former governor Sam Brownback.
“I am planning to actually have an executive order drafted before I take office,” Kelly said, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, quoted in The Wichita Eagle.
Kansans sent a message loud and clear.
Kelly defeated Republican candidate and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to the position of governor in the US midterm elections held on Tuesday.
The Democrat won by a margin of more than 45,000 votes, earning 47.8 percent of the vote against Kobach’s 43.3 percent.
“This week, Kansans sent a message loud and clear. They want their leaders to work together—despite political labels. That is exactly what I plan to do,” Kelly said.
The LGBT anti-discrimination measures were first established in 2007 via an executive order signed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and they protected state workers from harassment, firing or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Brownback rescinded Sebelius’ order, claiming that it was unilaterally creating “a new protected class.”
Democrats to push for LGBT anti-discrimination laws at the federal level
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There is currently no federal-level legislation prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the US, so it is up to single states to create laws protecting LGBT+ employees.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced before the midterm elections that her party would push for the approval of LGBT anti-discrimination legislation known as the Equality Act if Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives.
“Leader Pelosi has decided the Equality Act will get one of these priority bill numbers, indicating its importance to House Democrats,” a spokesperson for Pelosi was quoted as saying in the Washington Blade ahead of the vote.
Democrats now hold a majority in the House, having won at least 225 seats, with a few more seats too close to call, while Republicans retained their majority in the Senate.
One of Kansas’ representatives in Congress is Sharice Davids, who won the race in the state’s 3rd Congressional District and will become the first lesbian and Native American woman to hold a seat in the House of Representatives.
“We have the opportunity to reset expectations about what people think when they think of Kansas,” Davids said during her victory speech, quoted in The Kansas City Star.