Support your LGBTQ neighbors

Kansas has a long history of supporting all Kansans, in education, in economic opportunity, in our communities across the state. Kansas was founded as a free state to fight for equality, and Topeka was the site of the Brown v. Board of Education case that integrated the nation's schools. That's why Kansans are fighting today for equality and dignity, and to end discrimination for our LGBTQ neighbors and friends.

At a recent hearing about legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in Shawnee, many of the public opposed to these protections wore stickers declaring they were there to "protect religious freedom" or "protect liberty" instead. We have gone over this before: our country protects our freedom to practice our religions so long as we do not force any others to do so. There is no state mandated religion. Our government should not—cannot—discriminate against anyone based on a religious moral tradition.

Gov. Kelly reinstated protections for LGBTQ state employees—rescinded by Gov. Brownback—when she was sworn into office, but statewide protections for all Kansans have been stymied by the Legislature (despite a strong push in 2019). This is why we have been so excited to see communities in Kansas taking up the fight themselves. In August of 2014, Roeland Park joined Lawrence as the only communities in Kansas to offer protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. MainStream and our members were part of the push to pass that ordinance in Roeland Park. Since then, a handful of other cities have joined them, no longer willing to wait for the state to act.

Here's a list, with links.

Where can you help?

There are many municipalities in Kansas where citizens are still urging officials to bring forward and pass non-discrimination measures. Kansans need your help to show the support these measures have. If you live in one of the cities below, get involved! Send a letter, show up to a council meeting, or get in touch with your council member to let them know where you stand.

But what should I say?

MainStream has submitted a letter of support to communities engaging in this work. In that letter, we expressed our unequivocal support for efforts to protect all Kansans, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. From that letter, we've pulled something you could use, or adapt, when you contact your city leaders.

"Kansans share the values of respect for the rights, beliefs and freedoms of all individuals. Just as Kansans would never permit discrimination based on an individual’s skin color, religion, age, or gender; so, too, do Kansans reject discrimination based on an individual’s expression of gender identity, or on whom they love. There is no place for discrimination in Kansas. Please see to it that our city protects ALL of our neighbors with an ordinance to provide legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Thank you."

Fairway, KS

Just this month, Fairway passed an anti-discrimination resolution, but did agree to consider an ordinance with legal protections. If you live in Fairway, your voice could make the difference.

Lenexa, KS

Earlier this month, Lenexa's Mayor asked staff to draft a non-discrimination ordinance to be considered this fall. This follows a resolution in May, and shows that Lenexa's citizens were not ready to accept anything less than legal protections for their LGBTQ neighbors.

Olathe, KS

In March of 2019, Olathe passed an equality resolution, but did not include legal protections. That means that, while they might frown on it, discrimination is still legal in Olathe. But Kansans in Olathe continue to ask their city to protect their friends and neighbors from discrimination. Here's a timeline Brett Hoedl has been keeping of the path in Olathe towards an NDO.

  • Attend tomorrow's City Council Meeting
    There is no agenda item for the NDO, but additional time for public comment has been allotted.
    7-9 pm, Aug 20, 2019

    Olathe City Hall Council Chambers
    100 E Santa Fe St, Olathe, Kansas 66061

  • Contact the Olathe City Council
  • See upcoming meetings

Overland Park, KS

After passing a resolution earlier this year saying the state, not the city, should pass a non-discrimination measure, now Overland Park City Council members will start discussions of city-based protections in the Community Development Committee.

Shawnee, KS

After five hours of public testimony, the Shawnee City Council voted to instruct staff to draft a non-discrimination ordinance for the Council to consider. When it will be ready and discussed is still not known. Get in touch with your council member now to express your interest in getting legal protections done.

Do more than vote.

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