Brownback defends voiding LGBT protections

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback at a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the Ambassador of Religious Freedom. J. Scott Applewhite, AP.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is well known for his anti-LGBT+ views. So it was no surprise today that he defended his reversal of former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ executive order that told Kansas government agencies that they could not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

On the same day that President Trump banned transgender people from the military, he nominated Brownback to be a global ambassador for religious freedom.

“Brownback has demonstrated a disturbing interpretation of that buzzword, ‘religious freedom,’ while serving as governor of Kansas,” wrote The Advocate at the time.

The LGBT+ publication, on its website, detailed some of Brownback’s more disturbing actions.

In addition to the reversal of the LGBT+ protection policy, Advocate’s list included:

  • Legalizing discrimination in state universitites by signing the Campus Religious Freedom Bill. “Previously, student groups were required to follow their schools’ antidiscrimination policies, which often protected LGBT people. Under the new law, Brownback said religious student groups could ‘establish religious beliefs as qualification for membership’.”
  • Brownback’s administration moved more slowly to recognize same-sex marriage after the Obergefell decision by the Supreme Court in 2015
  • Issued an executive order that effectively legalized discrimination against same-sex couples at homeless shelter and adoption agencies.

The conservative governor appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today for a confirmation hearing, About the reversal of Sebelius’ order, “Brownback says the Democratic governor at that time, Kathleen Sebelius, acted unilaterally on an issue that state lawmakers should have resolved,” according to an Associated Press report on the hearing.

LGBT+ advocacy groups have condemned Brownback’s nomination for the ambassador post because of his anti-LGBT+ positions on human rights issues. The position has existed since 1998, although it’s never been particularly high profile, according to The Advocate.

At the time of his nomination, Equality Kansas called on the Senate to deny confirmation, saying, ““His use of religion is little different than that of a bully wielding a club,” said the group in a statement. “His goal is not to use religion as a way to expand freedom, but to use a narrow, bigoted interpretation of religion to deny freedom to his fellow citizens. He has caused enough damage here in Kansas. We do not wish him upon the world,” The Advocate reported.

Copyright The Gayly – October 4, 2017 @ 1 p.m. CDT.