Gay-Inclusive Human Trafficking Anti-Discrimination Regulations Criticized By Kansas Lawmakers

A sweeping new anti-trafficking law in Kansas is being criticized by some state lawmakers for what is seen as the problematic inclusion of sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination statutes.  

Darcie Smith, Kansas Department of Health and Environment director for child placing and residential programming appeared before a joint committee at the state capitol on Tuesday to answer concerns regarding the law’s regulations and implementation. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports:

Jan PaulsAfter rattling off a series of nondiscrimination categories for admission to the secure facilities that included gender and race, Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson (pictured right), asked Smith why sexual orientation was also included.

 “I wasn’t sure what your origin was on listing sexual preference," Pauls said. "Gender covers a lot of the sexual discrimination, potentially. I just wasn’t sure why the sexual preference was added.”

Smith said it was a safeguard to ensure homosexual victims get helped.

In a bit of illogical mental gymnastics, Pauls said that while she didn’t believe any LGBT human trafficking victims would be denied access to a safe house on that basis, she claimed that including it in the legal nondiscrimination regulations could pose problems for religious institutions providing help that oppose homosexual activity.

Pauls, a lawyer, noted that state statutes don’t include sexual orientation among attributes for which Kansans are protected from discrimination.

“Once you use the term 'discrimination' we usually follow our statutes,” Pauls said.

Pauls and other state representatives proposed that the language regarding “sexual preference” should be removed from the nondiscrimination provisions. Rep. Mark Kahrs said he concurred with Pauls' recommendation and suggested that KDHE add "ancestry" in place of sexual preference. 

State lawmakers on the other side of the issue, however, expressed concern that removing “sexual preference” from the statutes would leave LGBT human trafficking victims vulnerable and excluded from guarantees of basic services. 

 …Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, said during a break in the hearing he thought the department was smart to include sexual orientation because human trafficking often relates directly to sexual activity and some of the victims will be homosexuals.

"If you want to help people who are involved in human trafficking, you don't want to leave out that five percent or 10 percent," Hawk said.

The Huffington Post reports that Pauls has a long history as a rabidly anti-gay lawmaker. She authored the state's ban on gay marriage that was approved by voters in 2005. In 2011, Pauls was the leader of an effort to keep the state's sodomy ban on the books and pushed to not expand the state's civil rights laws to include sexual orientation. 


  1. Morphoist says

    Source Wikipedia:

    The top 5 donors to Pauls’ 2008 campaign:
    1. Kansas Contractors Assoc $1,000
    2. AT&T $650
    3. Sunflower Electric Power Corp $500
    4. Kansas National Education Assoc $500
    5. Kansas Assoc of Realtors $500

  2. says

    One of the highest aspects of human trafficking is for sex yet in her mind LGBT don’t even qualify for protection in one of the most heinous crimes against humanity, slavery. Talk about dehumanizing.

    How does a person like this live with themselves? Where is her humanity?

  3. Miche Rutledge says

    Yes, she’s a loathsome human being. She lives here in my hometown. It’s an extra insult that she’s a Democrat and also so homophobic. Her district supports her and her homophobia, though.

  4. Bill Michael says

    I am sooo G.D. tired of hearing about how religious organizations might be “forced” to do something against their religious convictions. If a G.D. Baptist or Catholic church doesn’t want to provide services to the public they should get the hell out of business and attend to their church. I can’t open a business and deny services based on my religious beliefs so why should the church? Because they are the church? B.S.! The church needs to obey the law like anyone else must.

  5. Vint says

    @Bill: yes, if the churches were seriously intent on charity, they’d offer their services gratis and not take government money for performing them.

    But that’s not what happens.

  6. bobbyjoe says

    Any “religious institution” that refuses shelter for a victim of sexual trafficking for any reason isn’t a “religious institution”– it’s a facilitator of abuse.

    Seriously, any organization that would turn away a human trafficking victim because they were gay (or any other discriminatory factor) is beneath both human and spiritual contempt and should be forever treated as such.

    PS– what’s all their talk about “sexual preference”? Jeez, it sounds like they’re living in 1982.

  7. BobN says

    “They might refuse if part of the followup treatment is to make the person comfortable in the alternative lifestyle they may have been forced into,” Pauls said.

    There’s some really, really ugly thinking behind that comment.

  8. Sean says

    Obviously she wants to insure that the “homosexual victims” don’t get helped. There’s plenty of transparency here, and it ain’t good. A typical Good Kansas Christian.

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