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LGBT Activists Rally Outside Kansas Statehouse

Feb 16, 2015
Cody Newill KCUR

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback rescinded protections for state employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity last week. But as Cody Newill reports, there’s one lawmaker who is trying to restore those protections.

Stephen Koranda

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has overturned an executive order that had protected many state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The executive order had been put into place in 2007 by former Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Tom Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, says LGBT state employees don’t have any other protections under Kansas law.

“This is their sole protection in the workplace," Witt says. "Now they can be harassed, denied promotions and fired for no other reason than their sexual orientation.”

Kansas has begun issuing gender-neutral marriage forms, though there's still ongoing litigation over the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

Copies of the new forms were included in a motion that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment filed Wednesday and amended Thursday, seeking to have former Secretary Robert Moser dismissed from the litigation.

The ACLU wants all state agencies in Kansas to recognize same sex marriages. As Stephen Koranda reports, the group is now asking a federal court to make it happen.

The court filing specifically names several state officials, including the secretary of revenue. It says people in same sex relationships have been denied state benefits, like joining their spouse’s health insurance or filing joint taxes.

Thomas Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, says the courts have let same sex marriages go forward in Kansas, and that means they should also be recognized by state agencies.

On Tuesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the state of Kansas' request to convene the full court to hear its appeal of U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree's order that the state allow same-sex marriages.

The latest procedural development from the federal appeals court in the case has little practical effect because the U.S. Supreme Court has already refused an emergency request to block Crabtree's order. It means that a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit will hear arguments over the preliminary injunction issued in the Kansas case.

The Kansas Supreme Court has cleared the way for more same-sex marriages in Johnson County, but says it will defer to the U.S. Supreme Court on whether Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.

The Kansas Supreme Court lifted its hold on licenses to same-sex couples in Johnson County yesterday.

Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty had authorized the licenses last month after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear cases from three federal appeals courts that had overturned same-sex marriage bans.

Abigail Wilson

Judges in at least four Kansas counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples a day after the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling allowing them to wed. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson reports that by noon Thursday nearly a dozen couples picked up marriage applications at the Sedgwick County Courthouse.

Civil liberties attorneys are telling the U.S. Supreme Court that delaying same-sex marriage in Kansas will harm same-sex couples and their families.

The American Civil Liberties Union responded to a request from Kansas to the court to maintain the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The state wants to enforce its ban while the federal courts review a lawsuit filed by the ACLU for two lesbian couples.

A federal judge last week ordered the state to stop enforcing its ban as of 5 p.m. CST Tuesday, but Kansas appealed to the nation's highest court.

Kansas is asking a federal appeals court to stay a judge's preliminary injunction against the state enforcing its same-sex marriage ban.

The state attorney general's office filed the request yesterday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, a day after appealing a ruling from U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree.

The judge ruled in lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union for two lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday indefinitely postponed a hearing in a same-sex marriage case because of a federal judge's order in a separate lawsuit barring the state from enforcing its constitutional same-sex marriage ban.

The ban remains in effect because the judge stayed his decision to allow the state to appeal, which it did. The Kansas court was to hear arguments in its case Thursday but will now consider whether to defer to the federal courts.

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