Legislative Talking Points: Please Pass Non-Discrimination Protections!

by | January 19, 2020

Please Amend the Kansas Act Against Discrimination to
Include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

HB 2130, introduced in the House with 38 bipartisan sponsors, has been referred to the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs. 

SB 84, with 18 bipartisan sponsors, has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.  Neither bill has been given a hearing.

Did you know?

It is legal to fire, evict, and deny services to LGBT Kansans for no other reason than their sexual orientation or gender identity.

What is the Kansas Act Against Discrimination?  The Kansas Act Against Discrimination is current state law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry and familial status in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Why is amending the Kansas Act Against Discrimination necessary?  Unfortunately, many LGBT Kansans have been discriminated against in employment, housing, and public accommodations.  Unlike many other Kansans, these individuals do not have the ability to seek any redress.  This act provides the ability for someone to file a complaint and have that complaint investigated if they’ve been discriminated against.

 

Where in Kansas are sexual orientation and gender identity included as protected classes? 

Over one million Kansans are protected by local non‑discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and gender identity.

A number of Kansas cities have enacted local measures adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their local non‑discrimination ordinances.  Among them are the cities of Baldwin City, Fairway, Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Shawnee, Westwood, Westwood Hills, Kansas City, Lawrence, Pittsburg, Manhattan, and Topeka.

Additionally, all Kansas Regent’s universities and most Kansas community colleges have adopted non‑discrimination policies of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  A significant number of school districts have also extended discrimination, bullying, and harassment protections to students and faculty.


Support KAAD 2019Does this bill apply to religious institutions?
  No.  The Kansas Act Against Discrimination has an exception for religious and nonprofit fraternal or social associations.  Therefore, religious institutions could not be found to have violated this Act for refusal to hire a person on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

How many other states provide similar protections?  Twenty-one states include sexual orientation and gender identity in their employment non-discrimination statutes.  Nine state, including Kansas, have executive orders prohibiting sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in state employment, and four states have orders protecting state employees based on sexual orientation only.

What does the business community think about this issue?  91% of the Fortune 500 corporations prohibit, in their employment policies, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  83% include prohibitions on discrimination based on gender identity.

What do Kansans think of these protections?  There is strong support across our state and country for this type of protection.  Nearly nine in ten Americans support the principle of sexual orientation nondiscrimination, and a recent Kansas poll found that 68% of voters supported anti-discrimination protections, while only 17% opposed it.

How much will it cost? The state commission responsible for enforcement of the current anti-discrimination statute, the Kansas Human Rights Commission, reports that complaints in the past decade have fluctuated between 710 to 1120 per year.  Based on the experience of other Midwestern states with similar statutes, we expect fewer than fifty additional complaints per year, a small fraction of the current KHRC caseload.

Revised 1-19-2020

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