Kansas Governor Sam Brownback rolled back legal protections on Monday that protected state workers from being discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Republican rescinded a 2007 executive order issued by his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, that specifically barred discrimination against gay and transgender workers.
“In a statement announcing the order, Brownback said the measure is meant to guarantee all Kansans enjoy the same civil rights, without creating new protected classes,” WIBW reports. “Any such expansion of ‘protected classes’ should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action," Brownback said in a statement. "The order also reaffirms our commitment to hiring, mentoring and recognizing veterans and individuals with disabilities.” Kansas already has a law on the books prohibiting discrimination in housing, hiring by private companies, and in the workplace, but the Associated Press points out, this law “does not cover bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and such an expansion is unlikely from the Republican-dominated Legislature.”