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Equality Kansas 2017 Candidate Questionnaires

Many people have asked about the questionnaires we use to evaluate candidates.  While we have never published raw questionnaire data, we’re happy to share the questions mailed to candidates.  Generally, questions are written to elicit “yes” answers, and candidates are given space in which to comment on each one.  Here are the two we sent for this year’s municipal and school district elections, along with the cover letter sent to all candidates.


Equality Kansas 2017 Municipality Candidate Questionnaire

Kansas currently has a non-discrimination statute called the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination.  It protects people from discrimination based on religion, sex, age, race, ethnicity, and national origin in employment, housing, and public accommodations.  It does not include protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Under Kansas constitutional home rule, municipalities are free to extend those protections, which some have done.

  1. Do you support [adopting a] [amending your] municipality’s anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity?
  2. Would you sponsor an ordinance to [adopt] [amend] your anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity?
  3. In 2011 and 2012, attempts were made in the Kansas State Legislature to nullify local non-discrimination ordinances that are more extensive than what is defined in state statute. Those attempts failed. Should this legislation be re-introduced, would you speak out against this attempt to circumvent home rule?
  4. If your municipality has an ordinance banning transgender residents from using the bathroom for the gender with which they identify, would you vote to repeal it?
  5. If your municipality does not have a restriction described in Question 4 above, would you oppose any attempt to pass an ordinance banning transgender residents from using the bathroom for the gender with which they identify?
  6. In 2003, the United States Supreme Court ruled that laws banning sexual contact between members of the same sex.  In Kansas, some municipalities continue to carry the unconstitutional “sodomy” ban on the law books.  In some cases, same-sex couples have been harassed under the color of this law.  If your municipality still has this law, would you support a repeal?

Equality Kansas 2017 Local School Boards Candidate Questionnaire

Kansas currently has a non-discrimination statute called the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination.  It protects people from discrimination based on religion, sex, age, race, ethnicity, and national origin in employment, housing, and public accommodations.  It does not include protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Many school districts across the state have added these protections for faculty and staff to their board policies.

  1. Do you support amending your school district`s non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity?
  2. In 2011 and 2012, attempts were made in the Kansas State Legislature to nullify school district non-discrimination policies that are more extensive than what is defined in state statute. Should this legislation be re-introduced, would you speak out against this attempt to circumvent local control?

In recent years, school districts across Kansas have been responding to the growing awareness of the needs of transgender children.  This has led to controversy over whether transgender children should use the bathroom for the gender with which they identify.

  1. Should transgender children be allowed to use the bathroom for the gender with which they identify?
  2. If your answer to Question 3 was “NO,” do you believe schools should make some other reasonable accommodation for transgender students?
  3. In Kansas, school districts have been left to address this issue locally. Do you believe:
    • The state legislature should pass a uniform law allowing transgender children to use the bathroom for the gender with which they identify
    • The state legislature should pass a uniform law restricting bathroom use by transgender students
    • School districts should continue to address this issue locally

In 2007, the Legislature passed a statute requiring public schools districts in Kansas to adopt policies and develop implementation plans to combat bullying.  The statute currently lacks enumerations of protected classes, or any transparency or enforcement provisions.  As a result, many school districts across Kansas are not in compliance with the statute.  In school districts that have taken steps to follow the law, the quality of compliance varies widely.  In general, those districts whose bullying prevention materials are readily available to parents have the qualitatively most comprehensive plans, where those whose materials are difficult to access place little to no emphasis on following the law.

  1. Do you support school district policies banning bullying by students based on sexual orientation or gender identity?
  2. Do you support requiring school districts to post their bullying policies and implementation plans online, and to file them with the Kansas Department of Education?

There have been ongoing attempts, locally and in the Kansas Legislature, to limit access to comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education in public schools.  We believe these policies would put all children, and especially LGBT youth, at risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

  1. Do you support a comprehensive sex education policy that includes, but is not limited to, abstinence?

The Kansas legislature in the recent past has considered legislation that would effectively criminalize the teaching of controversial material in Kansas public schools.

  1. Would you oppose efforts to criminalize teaching of controversial subjects?
  2. Would you oppose efforts to ban books in school libraries simply because they had subject matter dealing with gay, lesbian or transgender individuals?

Equality Kansas 2017 Candidate Cover Letter

Dear (candidate name):

Equality Kansas is the leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) political and advocacy organization in the state.  Our statewide membership is as diverse as the general population, and is actively engaged in formulating and defending pro‑equality, non‑discriminatory public policy at the state and local level.

In addition to our public policy activities, our political action committee, the Kansas Equality PAC, endorses and supports candidates who make a commitment to speak out and vote in favor LGBT equality, and who will defend against the ongoing attempts to legislate LGBT Kansans into second-class status.

Please find the enclosed Equality Kansas 2017 Local Elections Questionnaire.  Each question may be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response.  There is also room for additional comments, which we welcome and encourage.  Many areas of public policy are complex, and nuanced answers from you will help us get to know you as a candidate and officeholder.

If you are an incumbent officeholder, we will likely know some of your views from your voting record and public statements.  We encourage you to spend a few minutes on our questionnaire regardless.  There may be issues with which you are unfamiliar, or on which you’d like to offer an opinion.  We value your input, and would like to hear from you.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at 316-683-1706, or email us at info@eqks.org

Sincerely,

Cristel Heffron, Chair
Kansas Equality Political Action Committee

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