LGBT: Kansas, you're not in Kansas anymore
By Paul A. Ibbetson
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Those were the troubled words of Dorothy Gale as she found herself in a foreign world in the movie The Wizard of Oz. Many have used that sentence over the years for different reasons but in general it highlights a feeling of being somewhere that is so alien to our sense of normality that we cannot fully articulate where we are, only where we are not. As a lifelong Kansan I have felt that my state, as well as its location within the heartland, is a special place where traditional American values tend to be unbending to the onslaught of the political left. When I hear liberals scream words like, "gun toter" and "bible clinger" as they fail to advance their agenda in the heartland I have to say it puts a spring in my step. However, today as the sun shines down on the plains of Kansas, a liberal storm of great consequence is brewing.
Government officials in the city of Manhattan, Kansas are about to pass a modification of an existing anti-discrimination ordinance that will create the most intrusive pro-homosexual ordinance in the country. A gay advocacy group called LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) that enjoys an office at Kansas State University has been part of a five-year movement to pressure city officials to create a radical alteration to the city's existing anti-discrimination ordinance. So, what will these changes look like and how will it affect Kansans within its jurisdiction? I interviewed Dr. Paul Barkey, a Kansas pastor who has been researching the potential ordinance change on my radio program Conscience of Kansas and we covered the issue in detail. You'll need to sit down.
If the revamped anti-discrimination ordinance is passed as it currently stands, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people will be made into a protected class. This would come into effect even though there have never been any documented cases of discrimination in the city involving this group or their members. Despite this fact, after becoming a protected class these individuals would be able to bring forth allegations of discrimination against citizens and businesses. This newly designated protected class can start proceedings against average citizens simply if they feel they are "about to be discriminated against". Let that sink in for a moment. The ordinance is stated as dealing with all matters surrounding housing, accommodation and the work environment--in short, most everything in life. So pervasive is the ordinance that it is said by some to take authority over state and federal entities within the city of Manhattan. This smells more than a little fishy from a legal perspective, but let's keeps moving.
Under this ordinance, if a person is charged with discrimination they will be made to come in front of a three-person tribunal for judgment and sentencing. Out of compassion for readers knowing what is to come, this is your second chance to sit down. The tribunal itself will not be elected by voters but appointed at the whim of the mayor except for the stipulation that one member will always come from the protected status group. Without any specialized training or education, this tribunal will have the power to collect evidence, call witnesses and levy fines up to $50,000 on violators. Sound like America? You're probably sitting down now and that is good because it gets a whole lot worse. If one finds themselves in front of this tribunal, not only will one third of the judges be biased against the accused but the entire system is set up counter to the American justice system. Yes, instead of a presumption of innocence for the accused, like witch hunts of old, the accused have a presumption of guilt and must prove they are innocent. A question screams to be answered, "What is happening in Manhattan, Kansas?"
A pastoral letter of rejection to the ordinance change was signed by over 25 Kansas preachers and pastors and was read in a local Manhattan city meeting. On December 1, 2010 several hundred Kansas citizens came together at Kansas State University for a "Faith, Family, and Freedom Rally" to fellowship with one another and pray that city officials will take a different path, and set a better precedent for other towns and states that deal with this issue. The proposed ordinance is a bad law on every level from the spiritual to city economics. If a father sees a man follow his daughter into a public bathroom and objects, he may have to pay a fine. If a business decides to deny hiring, or giving services to anyone within this protected class, they may be fined out of business. In reality, the law will be used to punish traditional Christian values whenever they come into conflict with the gay agenda. When it comes to knowing when one might be seen as committing discrimination against someone with gender identity issues, your guess is as good as mine. There are currently no criteria set up to define when a violation has occurred. If you are simply shaking your head and giving thanks this debacle is not taking place in your town, be ready for a scary surprise in your morning paper. In April of 2010 Manhattan, Kansas, deep within the Bible Belt of the heartland, had its first gay pride parade. Then, by political fiat, the month of June was name by the Manhattan mayor pro tem as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Now in December, three out of five liberal politicians, on behalf of a minority group with a political agenda, are about to create a liberal city ordinance more extreme than anything seen in San Francisco. This new ordinance will be used as a civil hammer to beat traditional values into submission, and the shock waves will be felt around the country. Toto, we are in a big fix, because Kansas is about to be no longer in Kansas anymore.
Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of the several books including the 2010 release, "Oliver's Tale: A Squirrel's Story of Love, Courage, and Revolution." Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009 and 2010 Entertainment Program of the Year, Conscience of Kansas airing on KSDB Manhattan 91.9 FM. For interviews or questions, please contact him at email@example.com.