Kansas Hub

Topeka City Council Narrowly Approves LGBT ‘Equality Package’ Proposals

Chad manspeakerWestboro Baptist Church sure isn’t going to be happy about what their city council approved this week…

Amid emotional testimonies and a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday evening, the Topeka City Council narrowly approved both parts of a pro-LGBT “equality package” proposed by Councilman Chad Manspeaker [pictured].

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports:

Manspeaker said the votes send the rest of the world a message “that Topeka is an open, inclusive community and that we welcome all people here and we look forward to grow in that direction.”

The council heard at-times emotional testimony — in which both advocates and opponents claimed the moral high ground — before voting 5-3 to establish a city domestic partnership registry, which will be open to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. [...]

The council then voted 5-3 to approve a proposal banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the city’s employment and hiring practices. The measure also requires the city to make a good faith effort to contract to provide health coverage for any city employees registered with the city as being part of a domestic partnership.

Both measures were decided after the council voted 6-2 to reject a motion seeking to give the public a ballot question vote on them.

Topeka is now the second city in Kansas to have domestic partner registries, behind Lawrence.


Catholic Rep. Louis Ruiz Introduces LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill in Kansas House

Rep. Louis Ruiz, D-Kansas City, has introduced a bill in the Kansas House banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Wichita Eagle reports:

RuizRep. Louis Ruiz, D-Kansas City, introduced the bill a month after the Kansas House passed a bill that critics said would have legalized discrimination against gay and lesbian couples.

“What’s our message when we have these type of discriminatory bills that come out at either the federal or the state level? We’re defeating our own purpose as a country that wants to be inclusive. To me, this is a no-brainer,” said Ruiz, who is the ranking minority member on the Federal and State Affairs Committee, which initially passed HB 2453. He was one of its fiercest critics.

His bill, which does not have a number yet, would extend the same legal protections that prohibit discrimination based on religion, gender and race to sexual orientation and gender identity. This would make it illegal for a company to refuse to hire or serve someone for being gay or transgender, just as it is illegal to refuse to hire or serve someone based on skin color.

Kansas has a law protecting LGBT people in state employment but that's as far as it goes.

Ruiz "expects the bill to receive strong opposition, but hopes it will get assigned to the Federal and State Affairs Committee."

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2014/03/11/3338790/house-bill-would-ban-discrimination.html#storylink=cpy

LGBT Rights Advocates to Hold Second Rally in Topeka to Protest Bill Legalizing Gay Discrimination

  Kansas rally

LGBT Kansans and allies are planning a rally Tuesday morning near the Capitol in Topeka to protest against the proposed bill that would allow religious-based discrimination against gays. While the bill is currently being blocked in the Kansas Senate by a coalition of Republican and Democratic lawmakers, conservative activists in the state are still lobbying for the bill’s passage. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports:

In a joint statement, protest organizers Jen Harris and Ryan Wilks said, “(House Bill) 2453 is just the most recent attempt to shackle minorities into second-class citizenship.

The “End Inequality: Topeka Protest,” the organizers said, is a grassroots gathering of people who no longer tolerate legislation that denies full equal rights to the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) residents of Kansas.

“We no longer trust that our liberty and justice is at the forefront of the minds of the elected officials,” Harris and Wilks said. “We’re protesting to send the resounding message that we will not accept homophobic discrimination disguised as religious freedoms protections any longer. We want our rights, and we want them now.”

Supporters of the bill, meanwhile, continue to claim that the bill is being represented. 

Rep. Charles Macheers, a Shawnee Republican and chief advocate for the bill, said in a past Capital-Journal article the legislation was necessary because of potential religious persecution of individuals opposed to same-sex marriage.

“Discrimination is horrible,” Macheers said. “There have been times throughout history where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular.”

Gay rights organizations in the state, however, aren’t buying it.

“This bill is a sham attempt by right-wing extremists to roll back recent progress for LGBTQ Americans,” said Heather Cronk, co-director of GetEQUAL. “As a seminary graduate who was raised in the church, I believe this effort to use religion as a shield for bigotry and discrimination is shameful, un-Christian, and un-American. Though we know this bill has stalled for now, we don’t doubt that it will be back again — and LGBTQ Kansans will be ready for it.”

In a rally at the statehouse last week, some 250 protesters formed two lines behind signs labeled "Second Class Citizens" and "Straight People" to highlight the implications of the discriminatory bill. 

Tea Party Group Renews Push for Kansas Bill Legalizing Gay Discrimination

A Wichita-based tea party group is attempting to revive a Kansas bill that would allow religious-based discrimination against gays, with the group saying the bill is as much a protection of LGBT rights as it is a protection of the rights of Christians.The bill is currently blocked in the Kansas Senate after a group of Republican lawmakers, including Senate President Susan Wagle, joined the Democrat opposition last week. The Lawrence Journal-World reports:

Craig gabelCraig Gabel [pictured], leader of Kansans for Liberty, sent a message addressed to "conservative activists" asking them to contact senators who are refusing to allow a vote on a house bill dubbed the Kansas Religious Freedom Act, The Wichita Eagle reported. […]

“This is not a Christian battle this is a freedom battle, including the freedom of LGBT couples, the sample letter said. "If an LGBT couple owned a meeting space would any of us like to force them to rent it for an anti-gay rally and wedding? Should an African American and his LGBT partner be forced to lease his space or services for a KKK wedding?"

Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, blasted the notion that the bill contains anything but pure animus directed at the LGBT community.

"The sophistry is breathtaking," he said. "There's only one target in this bill and it is gay couples."

The only people who would benefit from the legislation are anti-gay individuals who would gain legal protection if they defy their employers and refuse to serve gay couples, he said.

Jon Stewart Rips Arizona and Kansas for Bills Legalizing Anti-Gay Discrimination: VIDEO


In a series last night accusing certain U.S. states of being the "meth labs of democracy," Jon Stewart blasted bills in Arizona (which passed) and Kansas (which failed) that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs.


Continue reading "Jon Stewart Rips Arizona and Kansas for Bills Legalizing Anti-Gay Discrimination: VIDEO" »

Hundreds Rally In Kansas to Protest Bill Allowing Religious-Based Discrimination Against Gays


Some 250 people joined in a rally outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka yesterday to protest against a proposed bill that would have allowed religious-based discrimination against gays. The Lawrence Journal-World reports:

During Sunday's protest, which was organized by the gay rights advocacy group Equality House of Topeka, participants formed two lines behind signs labeled "Second Class Citizens" and "Straight People." The lines went up the south steps of the Capitol.

"We don't judge others," said Dee Moore, of Topeka. "We think all are God's children."

Jeremy Morgan, also a Topeka resident, said when he first heard about the bill, it frightened him that he and his spouse, who were legally married in Iowa, could be denied services.

"We don't want to be humiliated. We want to be treated like everybody else," Morgan said.

The negative publicity surrounding the Kansas GOP’s efforts to legalize discrimination appears to have worked, as several leading Senate Republicans in the state have now blocked the bill in its current form

Video of the protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hundreds Rally In Kansas to Protest Bill Allowing Religious-Based Discrimination Against Gays" »


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