Hundreds of gay rights supporters rally at Kansas Statehouse

Hundreds of protesters have rallied at the Kansas Statehouse against Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to end protections against discrimination for gays and lesbians working in state government.

The rally Saturday on Valentine’s Day had about 600 participants. It was organized by gay rights advocates following Brownback’s decision this week to rescind an executive order that barred discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring and employment in much of state government.

The order was issued in August 2007 by then-Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who later served as President Obama’s health secretary. Brownback said Sebelius acted unilaterally and legislators should set such policies.

But speakers at the rally condemned Brownback’s action as backward and described it as an attack on gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered.