Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback stripped away protections from tens of thousands of LGBT state employees with one whisk of his pen today.
In 2007, Democratic Governor of Kansas Kathleen Sebelius signed an executive order protecting about 25,000 state employees from anti-LGBT discrimination. Gov. Sebelius went on to become President Barack Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services, and in 2011 conservative Republican Sam Brownback was elected to his first term as governor. Last year in a close race, Brownback won re-election.
Today, after being on the books for about eight years, Gov. Sebelius' executive order protecting 25,000 state employees was rescinded by Governor Brownback.
Brownback is a 58-year old Roman Catholic who has intertwined his faith with his job to such a great degree that in 2013, when signing an anti-abortion bill into law, he wrote, "JESUS + Mary."
Today, railing against what he called the creation of additional "protected classes," Brownback rescinded the 2007 executive order and replaced it with one that excludes mention of LGBT people entirely.
In short, if you are, for example, a professor at the University of Kansas, and you are gay, this morning you woke up knowing you could not be fired for being gay. By the time you left for home this evening, you could be. It's just that simple.
"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," Governor 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 calls Brownback's move "an outrage," noting that the Governor "has, by erasing their job protections, declared 'open season' on" every LGBT state employee.
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