LGBTQ Discrimination Protections Recognized in Kansas Law!

by | August 21, 2020

Kansas Human Rights Commission email announcing inclusive interpretation of state non-discrimination laws

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 21 2020
Contact: Thomas WItt, 316-683-1706, witt@eqks.org

LGBTQ Discrimination Protections Recognized in Kansas Law

Kansas Human Rights Commission Issues Ruling Inclusive of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The Kansas Human Rights Commission, which enforces Kansas’ non-discrimination laws, today announced they interpret the US Supreme Court’s BOSTOCK ruling to include sexual orientation and gender identity under Kansas law.

“This is a great day for fairness in Kansas,” said Thomas Witt, EQKS executive director. “LGBTQ Kansans will now have the ability, under Kansas law, to seek redress for acts of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations,” Witt said.

Today’s action by the KHRC will take effect immediately.  In an email, their director, Ruth Glover, said further guidance will be forthcoming.

“A guidance document will be forthcoming that the Kansas Act Against Discrimination’s employment, housing, and public accommodation anti-discrimination provisions for sex are inclusive of LGBTQ and all derivates of sex,” Glover said in her email. “Effective today, the Kansas Human Rights Commission will begin accepting complaints of “sex” discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations wherein allegations include discrimination based on LGBTQ and all derivates of sex,” she said.

Since 2006, Equality Kansas has regularly requested introduction of bills that would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the Kansas Act Against Discrimination, which already includes protections based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry and in housing because of familial status.

The KHRC statement extends the BOSTOCK ruling to all aspects of Kansas non-discrimination law.  While Bostock applies to Title VII of federal law and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s interpretation of “sex” in regards to employment, the Kansas Human Rights Commission will apply those protections to housing and public accommodations as well.  Additionally, where the EEOC regulates companies with 15 or more employees, the KHRC regulates discrimination in companies with 4 or more employees.

“This is another milestone on the road to full LGBTQ equality,” Witt said.  “However, much work remains. We must ban the brutal practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on minors, end bullying against LGBTQ youth in schools, and include gender identity protections in Kansas’ hate crimes statute,” he said. “We must repeal the unconstitutional laws criminalizing same sex relationships and those banning marriage recognition.  Today, though, we celebrate.”


Further reading:

Kansas Act Against Discrimination: http://kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/statute/044_000_0000_chapter/044_010_0000_article/044_010_0001_section/044_010_0001_k/

Bostock v Clayton County: https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/bostock-v-clayton-county-georgia/

Statement from Kansas Human Rights Commission:

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