"To me, this is a no-brainer": Catholic lawmaker introduces LGBTQ rights measure in Kansas

"We’re defeating our own purpose as a country that wants to be inclusive," explained state Rep. Louis Ruiz

By Katie McDonough
March 13, 2014 9:37PM (UTC)
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(AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)

A Democratic state lawmaker in Kansas has proposed an LGBTQ nondiscrimination measure just a month after his colleagues in the Kansas House passed a bill allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Rep. Louis Ruiz, a practicing Catholic, called his nondiscrimination measure a "no-brainer."


“What’s our message when we have these type of discriminatory bills that come out at either the federal or the state level? We’re defeating our own purpose as a country that wants to be inclusive. To me, this is a no-brainer,” he told the Wichita Eagle.

The measure would add gender and sexual identity and expression to existing anti-discrimination statutes around race, religion and gender. And while religious lawmakers he serves with in the House have used their faith as a justification to enshrine discrimination into Kansas law, Ruiz said he believes his faith is well protected and wants to see those same protections extended to his fellow Kansans.

The need for such a bill, particularly so soon after the House passed a measure to legalize discrimination, is clear, advocates say.


“If you look at the bills that people are trying to pass that would permanently enshrine open discrimination against gay and lesbian Kansans, can you think of a better reason why we should introduce something [like this bill]?” Witt said at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Catholic Church Catholicism Gay Rights Kansas Lgbtq Rights Religion Religious Liberty