This reached a pinnacle this last week with the removal of a previous state executive order (signed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius in 2007) that gave legal protection from discrimination to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender state employees. In the last eight years, nationally, we have made huge progress on reducing discrimination, as witnessed by the growing acceptance and legalization of same sex marriages. It is no wonder that the rescinding of the ‘07 order got so much negative attention.
What makes this all the more hard to accept is when you put it into a historical context. We came into statehood bloodied up but a free state, and as you go down through our history, that progressive, sane conservative perspective continued. For example, Republican Governor Alf Landon supporting a Progressive Income Tax in the early 1930’s, Republican Governor Frank Carlson advancing Mental Health Programs in the late 40’s, Republican Governor Ed Arn, in retirement, leading the study that led to our Unified Court System in the 70’s, are but three examples of a history of leadership and progress which includes Democratic Governor Sebelius and others as well.
This will pass. We will return to sanity. There are too many good, solid, committed Kansans of all stripes that are going to turn this around. Let this be the call to action that helps make that happen. To those who are in despair, don’t be too quick to leave, and to those who might be looking to come, the sun will return and the state will shine once again. You just wait and see.