Anyone tempted to believe Republican officials are slowly giving up on their staunch opposition to gay rights received quite a wake-up call this week. Much of Alabama is defying the federal courts on marriage equality; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) are talking about amending the U.S. Constitution; and in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has decided to roll back LGBT protections for no apparent reason.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported yesterday:
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback rescinded an executive order Tuesday issued during the Sebelius administration that offered protections to state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. [...] Then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, signed the order in 2007 prohibiting discrimination against most state employees on the basis of sexual orientation, The Associated Press reported at the time. The order required agencies under the governor's direct control to ensure they have programs to prevent harassment against gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and people who have had surgery for sex changes. It covered 25,000 of the 41,000 state employees.
With a stroke of the pen, Brownback canceled that order yesterday, saying in a statement that he doesn't want to create "additional 'protected classes'" of Kansans worthy of legal protection.
Given the far-right governor's track record, this doesn't come as too big of a surprise -- Luke Brinker said it "falls somewhere between 'I can't believe he hadn't done this already' and 'My God, what a monumental ****'" -- though his new executive order does raise some questions.
For example, Brownback is currently in his fifth years as governor. He just now, all of a sudden, decided to take a gratuitous and mean-spirited shot at LGBT Kansans? Why now?
For that matter, Kansas is facing a series of fiscal crises created by Brownback's failed right-wing economic experiment, and the governor is busy slashing millions from school budgets while scrambling to close a budget shortfall he created.
The governor, in the midst of all of this, woke up recently and said, "You know, gays have too many protections in the public sector"? Brownback doesn't have more pressing issues on his plate?