This spring, Kansas Republicans came together on a critical issue in the state house — stopping the rights of LGBT families to adopt and provide foster care. Legislation presented before the body called for religious organizations with discriminatory standards to at least not be removed from the foster care system.
Speaking from the well, Tom Cox (R-Shawnee), provided the vote that put the legislation over the top, changing the fate of the legislation from dead on arrival to alive and kicking.
Today, Kansas Republicans followed through on that legislation, which was apparently never about protecting a system that was in place, but more about moving to outside contractors with the direct desire of using state of Kansas funds to discriminate.
From the Wichita Eagle:
Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a law in May that ensures the agencies can choose not to serve LGBT individuals but exempted those that have a case management contract.
However, the Department for Children and Families will begin pursuing contracts with adoption agencies, rather than only working with case management agencies. That decision sets the stage for Kansas to contract directly with agencies that don’t place children with LGBT individuals.
“That’s frightening,” Rep. Jarrod Ousley, D-Merriam, said.
This conclusion wasn’t unforeseeable. In a phone interview with Thomas Witt, director of Equality Kansas, I was informed: “Legislators were told, directly that leaks were coming from DCF that told us this is the direction they wanted to go. It was pretty clear this is where the conservatives were leading us.”
If it was not a surprise when it passed before the Kansas House, by the time it was presented in the Kansas Senate, there was simply no doubt.
Witt noted, “I had spoken to John Doll (R)” — a Republican senator, now independent and running mate to Independent Greg Orman — “and had received a firm commitment he would be a no on this bill, a few hours later, he was yes.”
What convinced Doll? Sitting in the Senate, Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth) made the case for the bill:
From the Wichita Eagle
A Kansas state senator and congressional candidate suggested Friday that a “homosexual agenda” exists during an early morning debate over adoption legislation.
Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a Leavenworth Republican, spoke in support of a bill that would ensure faith-based adoption agencies can refuse placements to LGBT couples if doing so would run counter to the organizations' religious beliefs.
Whatever influenced Senator Doll to change his vote on the Senate, the end result is the same LGBT Kansans saw another door close to them today, while a foster system troubled with poor staffing, abuse, and children waiting to find a home have fewer opportunities.
Tom Cox will be opposed by Laura Smith Everett in the general, should he survive a primary.
The ticket of Greg Orman/John Doll, should it qualify for the ballot, be opposed by general sanity in the general.