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Archive for Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Discrimination ban bill stalls in committee

February 14, 2007

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— A bill aimed at banning discrimination based on sexual orientation remains bottled up in committee, but supporters of the measure said Tuesday they aren't giving up hope.

The chairman of the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee said there weren't enough votes on the panel to move it to the full Senate.

"Not enough support on the committee to get it out," state Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, said.

But Jim Yonally, a lobbyist and former lawmaker who has been around the legislative process for 35 years, hasn't thrown in the towel.

"When I die, I want to be around here because nothing ever stays dead," Yonally said.

Yonally said he remains confident that the legislation either will be recommended by the committee or tacked onto another bill as an amendment.

He said there are four votes on the nine-member committee for the bill, and he may get some members to abstain, which would give him enough votes to get the bill to the Senate.

The legislation would make it illegal to discriminate in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation. It already is illegal to discriminate based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, family status and national origin of ancestry.

In a hearing last week, gays, lesbians and human rights advocates said the measure was needed to provide protection and possible legal recourse for people who were fired from their jobs or evicted from their residences for being homosexual.

One opponent spoke at the hearing - state Rep. Janice Pauls, D-Hutchinson - who said the measure could force people who have religious beliefs against homosexuality to hire people who are gay.

The measure is similar to an ordinance adopted in 1995 in Lawrence, which is the only one of its kind in the state. Twenty-seven states have adopted some level of protection against discrimination because of sexual orientation.

Comments

Ragingbear 7 years, 10 months ago

If this bill does not pass, then I would urge all supporters of this bill to start discriminating against people by saying "I'm sorry. But I think that a male/female relationship is an affront to humanity. You will need to find some other place to live/work/Eat/sleep.".

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