Activists in Kansas are trying to get a bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections out of committee.
“It’s clear that the time has come to extend the same protections from discrimination to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people that so many other Kansans already enjoy,” said Maggie Childs, of Lawrence, board chair of the Kansas Equality Coalition. The coalition had a bill introduced before the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee. A similar proposal had been heard last year by the committee, but wasn’t voted on because it lacked a majority to advance the bill. This year, backers of the measure said they think they can get a favorable committee recommendation because some of the membership of the committee has changed. “We’re very hopeful we’ll get a vote this year,” said Thomas Witt, a lobbyist for the coalition. In 2007, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius issued an executive order adding protections for gays and lesbians working at state executive agencies.