Kansas Governor Signs Anti-Discrimination Executive Order

by HRC Staff

HRC Hails Action to Provide Basic Fairness for State Employees

WASHINGTON - Today, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed an executive order that will prohibit discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender state employees. The order is effective immediately.

"Today is a good day for all Kansans who reject discrimination. This is an important and meaningful statement in favor of equal rights," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We applaud Governor Sebelius's commitment to equality, and we congratulate HRC Board of Governors member Cyd Slayton, HRC Political Co-Chair Kirk Isenhour, Thomas Witt of the Kansas Equality Coalition and Jason Dilts of the Kansas Democratic LGBT Caucus for their work in helping advance equality in Kansas."

"Ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to serve their community is an important part of moving Kansas forward," said Sebelius. "This action brings Kansas in line with approximately 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies that have implemented similar policies to eliminate discrimination."

Solmonese continued: "We hope that the Kansas Legislature will follow the governor's lead by ultimately ensuring that private sector employees in Kansas don't have to face discrimination simply because of who they are. The momentum keeps building in favor of equality, as more and more states are doing the right thing and rejecting discrimination. However, the fact that Kansas remains one of 31 states without a law protecting private-sector employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and one of 39 states without a law protecting private-sector employees from discrimination based on gender identity highlights the critical need for federal anti-discrimination legislation in these areas."

Federal legislation with bipartisan sponsorship, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 24, 2007. This pending legislation would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person's sexual orientation or gender identity. ENDA is supported by a diverse group of American corporations.

Kansas becomes the second state this year, and the fourth in all, with an executive order prohibiting discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed a similar order earlier this year. Seven other states prohibit discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation only.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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