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Brownback Ends Protections For LGBT Kansas State Employees

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has overturned an executive order that had protected many state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The executive order had been put into place in 2007 by former Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Tom Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, says LGBT state employees don’t have any other protections under Kansas law.

“This is their sole protection in the workplace," Witt says. "Now they can be harassed, denied promotions and fired for no other reason than their sexual orientation.”

Brownback says the state Legislature, not the governor, should be creating civil rights protections. A spokesperson for the governor, Eileen Hawley, says LGBT state workers shouldn't fear for their jobs. She says they previously had a protection others did not.

"So right now, everyone in Kansas has the same civil rights protections," Hawley says. "And I think any employee here, we’re just looking for talented, good, hard-working employees.”

Kansas law protects against discrimination based on factors such as race, religion and gender.