Today, in the midst of LGBTQ Pride Month, we welcome and celebrate this latest acknowledgement that rights extended to all Americans include those of us in the LGBTQ community. This is one more step on the long road to full legal equality for LGBTQ people, and we are grateful to the United States Supreme Court and the many advocates who pursued this case to a successful conclusion.
We still have far to go. While LGBTQ Americans now have Federal protections against employment discrimination in most cases, we can still be evicted from our homes and denied services, health care, and public accommodations on the basis of our sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. In Kansas, laws remain on the books criminalizing our relationships.
Every state in our nation has strengthened Federal anti-discrimination laws by enacting their own statutes, and have extended discrimination protections to include housing and public accommodations. Approximately half the states include sexual orientation and gender identity in their protected classes, but unfortunately, Kansas does not.
Equality Kansas will continue to press for LGBTQ inclusion in the Kansas Act Against Discrimination. We will continue our campaign in Kansas cities for local protections as well. Today at least twenty Kansas municipalities – home to 1.1 million Kansans – include sexual orientation and gender identity in local non-discrimination ordinances. We will not rest until every person in Kansas is free from the scourge of discrimination.
In 1973, the Kansas Supreme Court, in Hutchinson Human Relations Commission v Midland Credit Union, said this:
“[T]he cancer of injustice toward members of minority groups is peculiarly virulent on the local scene; discrimination is essentially a people problem, and must eventually be dealt with and solved by people in the localities where they live.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Here’s the full text of today’s landmark ruling:US Supreme Court Title VII EEOC Ruling