KS and MO officials move in opposite directions on LGBT protections

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Missouri House members voted Tuesday against protecting staff from being fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

House members in a voice vote rejected the proposed change to House internal rules.

Kansas City Democratic Rep. Greg Razer is gay and pushed for the change. He says that people should not be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Razer told colleagues that "your religious views may say we're going to hell. But we also have the right to have a job."

Springfield Republican Rep. Curtis Trent raised concerns that adding those protections for LGBT House staffers could infringe on religious liberty. He said there needs to be more debate on the issue, and said it shouldn't be decided in an internal rule change.

Also Tuesday, Kansas' new Democratic governor reinstated a ban on anti-LGBT bias in hiring and employment decisions by state agencies and extended it to state government contractors.

Gov. Laura Kelly's executive order Tuesday fulfills a promise she made repeatedly in her successful campaign last year and restores a policy that had been rescinded by a conservative Republican predecessor. It was Kelly's first official action since taking office Monday.

In 2007, Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius issued an executive order against anti-LGBT bias in state government. In 2015, conservative Republican Gov. Sam Brownback rescinded Sebelius' order and argued that state lawmakers should set such a policy.

Kelly's order applies to state agencies under her direct control, which have about 19,000 employees. But it's broader than the Sebelius policy because it applies to contactors.