The Campus Ledger Editorial Board
If there is one name in Kansas dreaded more than any other, that name is Sam Brownback.
The state is in the middle of a downward spiral economically — Kansas has a new budget that carries a $22 million shortfall. While the state’s financial woes are deeply troubling to the Ledger’s staff, we have decided to focus on the social wrongdoings of Governor Brownback which we believe are out of touch with many Kansans, especially that of a younger generation that is more diverse and tolerant than ever before.
His support of discriminatory policies is not only vile — it has also jeopardized Kansas’ national standing. Thus it is the opinion of The Campus Ledger editorial staff that Governor Brownback would best serve the state by resigning.
His voting record on abortion is terrifying and even more extreme than many other Republicans. By his own count last year, Brownback has signed 15 pro-life bills ranging from the banning of commonplace dilation and evacuation procedures to the defunding of Planned Parenthood to the point of the state having only three in operation. A population of three million, three abortion clinics.
Citizens of Kansas should not have to drive hundreds of miles — the three clinics are in Overland Park, Leawood and Wichita — to safely terminate a pregnancy. Other states, notably Texas, have passed similar bills in the past. Those bills have been criticized for creating an “undue burden” on healthcare seekers. Laws that create an “undue burden” on a citizen’s access to constitutionally protected rights are unconstitutional, per the Supreme Court’s undue burden test.
Another area in which Brownback makes deplorable choices is in regards to the state’s LGBT population. It may even feature his longest list of offenses. Since becoming a member of Congress until his time as the governor today, Brownback has supported the Defense of Marriage Act, the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, worked with anti-LGBT organization — including some classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center — and repeatedly undermined and dismantled gender and sexuality nondiscrimination laws.
In 2015 he rescinded an executive order by former Democratic governor Kathleen Sebelius that provided LGBT employees with protections from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. John Carmichael, a Democratic representative from Wichita, introduced a bill to restore protections to LGBT people during last year’s legislative session. The bill was promised a hearing Jan. 14 this year, but was moved back to June 1, 2016.
Two bills are currently in the state legislature that would force transgender students to use the bathrooms that align with their sex at birth. While Brownback has not made a public statement about those bills, his administration proposed a policy change this year that would make it nearly impossible for transgender citizens to change their sex on their birth certificate — a major battle for transgender people. The new policy would force transgender people to sign an affidavit saying their gender was incorrectly recorded at birth and provide medical records to prove their claims.
Pittsburg, Kansas’ newspaper The Morning Sun also called for Brownback’s resignation. More Kansans across the state are no longer willing to allow our governor to continue to nationally embarrass our state while simultaneously bankrupting it. His policies on LGBT rights are in opposition to the majority of the nation and much of Kansas’ constituency. For these reasons we join The Morning Sun in demanding Brownback forfeit the governorship.