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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. 


Gay Couples File Lawsuit Against Kansas for Discriminatory Tax Filing Policy

Two married gay couples are suing the state of Kansas over its instructions that same-sex couples continue to file their state tax returns separately, the AP reports:

KansasThe lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that the state Department of Revenue is violating state tax laws that tie the Kansas income tax code to the federal code, noting that the Internal Revenue Service recognizes unions from states in which gay marriage is legal, allowing joint filing. The lawsuit also says the state agency exceeded its authority by imposing what amounts to a new regulation without first seeking public comment or standard legal reviews.

The Department of Revenue issued a notice in October, "Guidance for Same-Sex Couples," spelling out the policy. It requires each person to file either as an individual or head of household. The lawsuit seeks a court injunction blocking the department from enforcing the policy and a ruling that the policy is discriminatory.

Tom Witt, executive director for Equality Kansas added:

“In Kansas all married persons have to use the same income and tax status and information on all tax returns,” Witt said. “There is no separate law for legally married same-sex couples, and the state shouldn’t be making separate rules that penalize or stigmatize married gay and lesbian Kansans.”


Wichita Anchorman Drops F-Bomb During Sign-Off: VIDEO

Anchor

While signing off for the 10pm Saturday night news broadcast, Wichita KSN anchorman Justin Kraemer said what's on the mind of anyone finishing a late-night weekend shift—he just didn't realize his mic was still on—whoops!

The Daily Dot says, "There has been no official response from KSN about the incident and Kraemer's station profile and Facebook page remain intact." But will the Federal Communications Commission issue the station a fine? Hmmm...

Watch the F-bomb, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Male Kansas Teen Suspended From School For Carrying Purse: VIDEO

SkylerThirteen-year old Skylar Davis of Garnett, Kansas was suspended from school yesterday for wearing a Vera Bradley purse to Anderson County Senior-Junior School and refusing to take it off, KCTV 5 New reports. Skylar has been wearing the bag since school started in August. School officials have not had a problem with the bag until yesterday. Though the school has not issued a statement regarding Skylar's suspension, he was told not to return to school until he stops wearing the purse, something he does not intend to do. Skylar and his family believe the school's actions are discriminatory:

"I don't think everyone should be treated differently," Skylar Davis said. "Everyone should have the same privileges...[The purse] expresses myself and I think everyone else can wear it, so I wear it as well," Skylar told KCTV5's Dave Jordan. [...]

"I was a little furious, and I called the school [and spoke to Assistant Principal Don Hillard] to reverify the story, and yeah, he refused to take off his Vera Bradley bag, nothing more to do it," [Skylar's mother, Leslie Willis] said.

She said she reviewed the student handbook but did not see a mention to bags or purses. She questions the suspension and the timing.

"Skylar has been going to school since August with that same Vera Bradley bag on, hasn't taken it off. What is the problem?" she asked.

Skylar's brother, Dakota Haight, also spoke out in support of his brother, criticizing the school's concern with Skylar's choice of school bag:

"I've seen girls wear short shorts. Why don't they get kicked out? But then he gets kicked out for a purse? That doesn't make sense. It's not right," Haight said.

 Watch a news report on Skylar's suspension AFTER THE JUMP...

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Patrons Rally Around Kansas Waiter Refused Tip for Being Gay, Called a 'Fag': VIDEO

Tip

Restaurant patrons are rallying around an Overland Park, Kansas waiter who was refused a tip from a customer because he's gay, KCTV reports:

CarrabbasThe man works at the Carrabba's Italian Grill near 107th Street and Metcalf Avenue. His mother also works as a hostess and she was very upset by what was written on the back of the check earlier this week after he waited on a couple.

"Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. Fags do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours," the customer wrote. "We hope you will see the tip your faggot choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD's love, but none shall be spared for fags. May GOD have mercy on you."

Supporters of the waiter, whose story has been spreading on social media, have been pouring into Carrabba's to dine, and urging more customers to do the same. A campaign is underway to flood the restaurant with support on Friday, according to KCTV.

A local pastor, Marvin Baker, is among those supporting the waiter.

Dr. Marvin Baker and his partner had lunch at the restaurant on Thursday and asked to be seated in the server's section.

"I was angry. I said this is not Christian as I know it," Baker said.

Coincidentally enough, the hostess who led them to their seats was the server's proud mother.

"I said, 'We are here to meet your celebrity. The one who was mistreated.' She said, 'That's my son. Would you like a table or booth?' I said, 'Wherever he's serving,'" Baker explained.

Watch KCTV's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Baker

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Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) Says DOMA Ruling Is Attack On Jesus Christ, Harmful To Children: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 3.41.24 PM

Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), who has already announced his plan to reintroduce the Federal Marriage Amendment later this week, has been making the media rounds to express his strong disagreement with the Supreme Court's marriage equality rulings. Earlier today, Huelskamp appeared on a Christian radio program to discuss how gays and the left are "turning government against the church." Right Wing Watch reports:

Huelskamp accused the justices of trying to "rewrite the Constitution" and of attacking Jesus Christ himself. "The idea that Jesus Christ himself was degrading and demeaning is what they've come down to," he said.

The congressman also added that the left is bent on "ramming their views down the throats of Americans."

Earlier this week, Huelskamp appeared at a Heritage Foundation summit to discuss the real reason behind his crusade: the children

"Decades of social science research and centuries of American history has shown that every child deserves a mom and a dad. With this ruling they have further redefined marriage and I think children will be hurt."

Watch (and listen), AFTER THE JUMP...

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