Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback today rescinded a 2007 executive order that protected state workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In place of that order, Brownback issued another order that he said “reaffirms the commitment of the State of Kansas to employment practices which do not discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry or age.” The civil rights protection was one of nine executive orders originally signed by Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson that Brownback rescinded Tuesday. Most of those orders established boards and commissions that Brownback said no longer meet. Brownback’s press secretary, Eileen Hawley, said that when Sebelius signed the original order in 2007, she “unilaterally” established two additional classes of protected citizens. “Any such expansion like that should be done by legislation,” Hawley said. Asked if Brownback is proposing such legislation, Hawley said he is not.
The Human Rights Campaign reacts: “This is a dramatic reversal for Kansas. For eight years, LGBT state employees have been guaranteed non-discrimination protections and in one foul, reckless, and shameful decision, Governor Brownback has taken the state backward. His deplorable behavior is a direct assault on fairness and equality in the state.”