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February 16, 2014 / stacieshap

Steve Grossman Responds to Anti LGBT Bill in Kansas

In Kansas, the overwhelmingly Republican House of Representatives passed an offensive anti civil rights bill last week that would have blatantly allowed discrimination against Gays and Lesbians. Members of the House expected the legislation to fly without a hitch through the Republican Senate, and later be signed into law by conservative Governor Sam Brownback .  What they didn’t expect was, a national backlash that ultimately lead to the Senate voting the legislation down this past Friday.

Amongst those who spoke out against the legislation was Treasurer Steve Grossman.  The following is the letter he sent to the Kansas Senate:

Dear President Wagle:

I write to you as Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and as a candidate for governor, but most importantly as a citizen deeply disturbed by the actions of the Kansas House of Representatives this week. The passage of House Bill 2453, “An act concerning religious freedoms with respect to marriage,” would allow private businesses to deny service to same-sex couples because of an individual or organization’s religious beliefs. This is beyond reprehensible. I urge you to reject this bill. It remains an affront to the values that shape our country and the legal principles that define our Constitution.

I ask you to circulate the text of the Fourteenth Amendment among your colleagues, which states in part that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In 2003, Massachusetts set a critical precedent for equality when our Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriage. In fact, in the court’s opinion, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall recognized the deeply held religious, moral, and ethical beliefs both for and against same-sex marriage. Yet the court concluded that its obligation is to the governance of law.

Not counting the recent decisions by federal judges to strike down same-sex marriage bans in Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia, 17 states and the District of Columbia now allow citizens to marry whomever they love. The question of whether Kansas chooses to accept history’s arc of justice bending further toward equality remains for you to answer. This attempt to segregate citizens on the basis of their sex or gender is an embarrassment to all people, in Kansas and across the United States. Each time I visit Washington D.C., I take time to notice the words inscribed on the front of the Supreme Court: “Equal justice under law.” For more than two centuries, those words and the laws they represent, have governed our states and our nation, demonstrating that each of us is entitled to religious beliefs, but that none of us can deny others equal treatment under the law.

I believe I speak for not only the people of Massachusetts, but for all people of good will across America, when I say: Stop this shameful action! Reject this bill. Treat every Kansan with the dignity and respect he or she deserves.

Sincerely,

Steve Grossman

________________________________________________________________

HB 2453:

House Bill 2453  was passed by the state’s Republican-dominated House on Wednesday with a vote of 72-49.

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