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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback rescinds state's LGBT protections

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback speaks to supporters in Topeka, Kansas, on Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo by Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters)
Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback speaks to supporters in Topeka, Kansas, on Nov. 4, 2014.

In Kansas, state employees can now be fired from their jobs for being gay.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed an executive order on Tuesday reversing a 2007 measure that barred employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender state workers.

“This Executive Order ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional ‘protected classes’ as the previous order did,” the governor said in a statement. “Any such expansion of ‘protected classes’ should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action.” 

RELATED: Brownback to make up for revenue shortage by cutting public school funding

Doug Bonney, the legal director of ACLU’s Kansas chapter, called the ruling “shocking” and “unprecedented.” “I read this as a signal ‘go ahead’ you can discriminate against people on their sexual orientation,” he said. “It sends absolutely the wrong message … it says, frankly, ‘please leave.'”

Under Brownback’s new order, Kansas workers can still be protected against  “race, color, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry or age" discrimination, however.

State employees now join the rest of Kansas' workforce — none of whom have no workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

While the state workers lose the discrimination protections they’ve had for more than seven years, they are returning to a situation all too familiar to many American employees: 29 states, including Kansas, have no protections in place to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. 

On the federal level, LGBT government workers are protected from discrimination. Later this year, federal contractors will also be required to protect their employees against gender and sexuality-based discrimination when new rules ordered by an executive order are implemented.