Locals React to Brownback’s Discrimination Policy
An executive order from Governor Sam Brownback has removed state anti-discrimination and harassment protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“You’re hiring a state employee to do whatever it is you’re wanting them to do,” one Pittsburg resident said. “What they do in their bedroom, if we’re talking about being libertarian all the time, why should it be any of the state’s problem?”
The governor’s statement claims the policy should never have been enacted through an executive order, and should have gone through the legislature.
“Brownback’s order is an outrage,” Executive Director of Equality Kansas, a LGBT activist group, Thomas Witt said. “I know a number of LGBT state employees who are very concerned about their jobs. They felt that the state had made a promise to them and that they were safe being out at work. And they no longer feel safe.”
The governor’s actions have many worrying about the status of employees at Pittsburg State University.
While faculty and staff at PSU are considered state employees, President Steve Scott issued a statement Thursday saying the rescinded order will not effect university policy.
In his statement, President Scott pointed out the university’s non-discrimination policy includes sex, sexual orientation, and genetic information.. And continued, “Our belief in the inherent dignity and value of every human being is at the core of who we are and is the foundation for everything we do. Please be reassured that those enduring principle s have not and will not change.”
Beyond the university, for now, state employees will have to wait for the legislature to react.
“People should be talking, and calling, and complaining, and talking to each other about it,” one local said. “I mean, if we just sit silent, nothing is going to change.”
In response to the governor’s order, Representative John Carmichael of Wichita is pursing legislation to expand “protected classes” of workers to include LGBT employees.