The editorials (and the whining. Good heaven, please make the social media whining stop.) are going to suggest Brownback hates gays. They're wrong.
The story clearly illustrates for whom the Governor has obvious disdain: Conservative legislators.
Brownback said he rescinded an order banning state discrimination against the Letter People, because former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius instituted the directive "unilaterally." As he inserted a rusty knife into the backs of conservative legislators, Brownback said such changes should be made by the state legislature.
It's hard to find the right words. I want to be respectful, but I also want to launch spitballs at the Governor. And I want to put bags of poo on the porches of whoever is advising him.
I don't actually disagree with the Governor's logic. Brownback said the Sebelius directive created a special class of people. True.
Brownback, in signing his order, said this "ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional 'protected classes' as the previous order did."
On that, we can agree. But the timing. Oh, the timing. Brownback has been Governor for 4-plus years at this point. The fact that he waited a few weeks into his second term reeks of strange political
maneuvering. Clearly, Brownback was worried the change might affect his chances at re-election. So he waited.
If policy changes are necessary, if they're right, then a principled leader makes the changes, no matter the political consequences.
But since Brownback is obviously concerned with political consequences -- he should have taken a second to consider what his policy change will do to conservative legislators who are up for re-election in two years. They will be asked to defend Brownback's decision. And they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Brownback further twisted the knife by telling news organizations that this sort of policy change belongs to the legislature. This is true, but now there's proposed legislation to make the change through statute. So now legislators aren't only going to be asked to defend the Governor, they're going to be asked to vote on emotionally-charged, ill-timed legislation.
This isn't the first time Brownback has stuck his foot in it at legislators' expense. His school allotment cut announcement came straight out of left field, with the vast majority of legislators learning of the Governor's proposal at the same moment the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle learned of it. Hence, some of the absolute disaster I wrote about yesterday.
Meanwhile, had Brownback had legislators in mind at all, he would have announced broad sweeping cuts to all department allotments -- not just education. That would have allowed legislators to say they preferred to use a scalpel rather than an axe on the budget. They could have "negotiated" the exact same thing the Governor wanted. Yes, Brownback would have taken political heat, which he is already -- but conservative legislators, who, once again have to stand for re-election in a very short time, would have some cover.
The media is going to weave a compelling tale about how Brownback hates LBGTQ people, and like always, they're going to miss the point. No gay state employee is going to lose a job over this change. But you know who just might? Conservative legislators.
Brownback doesn't hate gays. He hates the Kansas Legislature.