TOPEKA, Kan., Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback rescinded protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees who face discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Brownback, a Republican, rescinded the 2007 protections put in place by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, saying the new executive order "ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional 'protected classes' as the previous order did."
"Any such expansion of 'protected classes' should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action," he said.
He added the order reaffirms the state's commitment to "hiring, mentoring and recognizing veterans and individuals with disabilities.
Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, said the executive order is "an outrage."
"Gay, lesbian, and transgender state employees across Kansas have trusted they would be safe from discrimination and harassment in their workplace, but Sam Brownback has, by erasing their job protections, declared 'open season' on every one of them," he said on the group's website.