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Saturday, September 01, 2007

No way! Kansas?!

This ought to put a bee in Thomas Frank's bonnet. Frank wrote 'What's the Matter with Kansas,' a well-read description of how social conservatives took over the heart of the country using abortion and gay marriage as political wedge issues. Now, it seems like things might be turning around in Kansas.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed an executive order Friday prohibiting most state employees from being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The order, effective immediately, requires that agencies under the Democratic governor's direct control make sure they have programs to prevent on-the-job harassment against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and people who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery. It covers about 25,000 of the state's 41,000 employees.

"I'm sorry it took us so long," Sebelius said after signing the order in front of two dozen activists.

Sebelius' action contradicts the thinking that progressive abortion and gay rights positions are political suicide in the Mid-West and the South. It's a welcome sign that progressives are asserting themselves while prominent social conservatives are getting busted for their hypocrisy (Rev. Ted Haggard and Sen. Larry Craig).

This decision also challenges our elitist thinking (I say 'our,' because I have certainly been a part of it) about the 'fly-over states' being uneducated, easily duped, and sexually repressed. All people can come around to a less repressive view of sexuality, but we have to elect the right politicians who are willing to lead and educate voters on difficult issues. Thank you, Governor Sebelius, for doing exactly this in your state.

P.S. We really don't want to write only about the Democrats and the work they are doing for gay rights. We welcome Republican examples, but are having a hard time finding any. Please, as a reader of this blog, send us stuff that Republicans are doing to protect and expand gay rights. We'd be happy to publish them.

2 Comments:

  • There are plenty of people here in "fly-over country" who favor gay rights. I live in the same town as is home to Focus on the Family and I have a wide circle of friends who are fed up with that organization and its anti-gay agenda. Perhaps the Mid-West is not nearly as opposed to gay rights as the right wingers want us to believe.

    By Blogger Paul, at Mon Sep 03, 02:35:00 AM PDT  

  • I think you're right Paul -- if only we could just find the right ways to explain what we believe in terms that reach them where they are. I.e. Why should you care what happens in so and so's bedroom? Do you want to take my guns, as well?

    A civil libertarian framework goes a long way...

    By Blogger Isaac, at Mon Sep 03, 04:15:00 AM PDT  

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