Protesters Stand Up for Love Against Brownback

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback drew outrage within his state and nationwide on Feb. 10 when he issued an executive order removing sexual orientation and gender identity from protected classes of state employees. Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had added those categories in 2007 by executive order.
Jon Stewart of The Daily Show reacted to this news by satirizing the famous line from The Wizard of Oz, saying that in Kansas, “There’s no place like homophobia.”
Within one hour of Brownback’s Executive Order 15-01, State Rep. John Carmichael (D-Wichita) introduced House Bill 2323, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to the state’s existing non-discrimination law. This law covers any employment, public accommodations and housing in the state. House Bill 2323
Carmichael said that if the House bill is passed, it could be effective by July 1. If it is not passed this year, he said, he will bring it forward in the 2016 legislative session.
Carmichael spoke on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, at a rally at the Statehouse in Topeka that was organized by Equality Kansas and the Topeka-based Planting Peace organization, which many know from its rainbow-painted Equality House. See photos on page 17 of the March print issue.
The rally drew an enthusiastic and spirited crowd of LGBT people and allies on a cold day. The Valentine’s theme of love was not lost on these protesters of Brownback’s mean-spirited actions toward the LGBT community. Crowd estimates were between 700 and 1,000 people.
The speakers were: Sandra Meade, state chair of Equality Kansas

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