Kan. Lawmaker Questions Anti-Discrimination Clause
A Kansas lawmaker has questioned why a state agency included sexual orientation in an anti-discrimination clause for safe houses for victims of human trafficking.
The safe houses are part of anti-trafficking statutes passed by the state Legislature last year, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1af5c9s ). The legislation was a major initiative for Gov. Sam Brownback, who will sign a proclamation Thursday declaring January Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Kansas.
Daric Smith, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s program director for child placing and residential programs, came before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations on Tuesday to tell legislators how the department planned to implement the law.
Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson, asked Smith why sexual orientation was included with gender and race in the nondiscrimination categories for admission to the secure facilities. She said state statutes don’t include sexual orientation among attributes for which Kansans are protected from discrimination.
"Anything that’s not under our discrimination statutes should be dropped out of the definitions of what legal discrimination is," said Pauls, who helped author Kansas’ constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.