Kansas Equality Coalition
The Kansas Equality Coalition is a statewide LGBT rights organization whose mission is to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The coalition seeks to ensure the dignity, safety and legal equality of all Kansans.
Created on October 9, 2005, during a meeting in Emporia, Kansas, KEC is dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
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The Equality Coalition started with five original chapters:
- Johnson County (since reorganized as the Northeast Kansas Chapter)
- Lawrence/Douglas County
- The Flint Hills (since reorganized as the Riley/Geary County Chapter)
Since then, the following chapters have been added:
- Southwest Kansas (March 14, 2006)
- North Central (July 26, 2006)
- South East (January 13, 2008)
- Central Plains (April 27, 2008)
- Hutchinson Area (June 27, 2010)
- Northwest Kansas (July 18, 2010)
KEC-Lawrence members were instrumental in persuading the city of Lawrence, Kansas, to institute a domestic partnership registry in 2007. It is the first of its kind in the state. Lawrence is the seat of Douglas County, which is the only county in Kansas where a majority of voters opposed the state's 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
In February 2007, members of the Kansas Equality Coalition testified before the Kansas House Committee on Federal and State affairs in opposition to a bill that would have outlawed domestic partnership registries in the state. No floor vote on the bill was held in 2007. In February 2008, the Kansas House of Representatives voted 66 to 50 to refer the bill to the House Judiciary Committee for more hearings.
In August 2007, members of the coalition stood with then Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as she signed an executive order banning discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The order applies to the executive branch of state government.
In March 2009, Members of the coalition's Topeka chapter were instrumental in successfully lobbying the Board of the Topeka/Shawnee Co. Library to prevent a move by local religious conservatives to restrict access and censor predominately LGBT sexual education materials.
Kansas Equality PAC
In 2006 the coalition formed a political action committee, Kansas Equality PAC, to work toward the election of state and local candidates for office in Kansas who support equality for LGBT Kansans. The mission of the PAC is to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression and to ensure the dignity, safety and legal equality of all Kansans by working to elect fair minded candidates to office, regardless of party affiliation.
- Lawhorn, Chad (2007-06-13). "Opponents don't derail domestic registry". Lawrence Journal. Retrieved 2007-06-29.
- Bauer, Laura (2007-06-02). "Lawrence has endorsed a proposal that would allow gays and lesbians to register as couples". The Kansas Star. Retrieved 2007-06-29.[dead link]
- Committee Minutes, February 15, 2007 Archived August 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.