Sad path —State lawmakers pushing on with radical social agenda

2/17/2014

Political pundits predicted damaging fallout from this year's Kansas Legislature, and right-wing extremists in the Republican Party are doing their best to deliver as much.

Political pundits predicted damaging fallout from this year's Kansas Legislature, and right-wing extremists in the Republican Party are doing their best to deliver as much.

In the wake of last year's income tax-cut plan benefiting the wealthy while punishing the poor in the state — a strategy tax-policy experts from both the political left and right deemed worst in the nation — GOP ultraconservatives continue pushing for more senseless tax policies.

Then there's the relentless quest for social changes coveted by the radical right, including recent proposals garnering more unwanted national attention for Kansas.

One such pitch targets gay men and women.

The proposed legislation would let Kansas businesses and government employees deny services to same-sex couples on the basis of "religious freedom."

The measure passed the Kansas House, with 72 lawmakers voting in favor. Credit local representatives John Doll, R-Garden City, Russ Jennings, R-Lakin, and Don Hineman, R-Dighton, for voting against the mean-spirited proposal.

Not surprisingly, plenty of outrage has been unleashed by astonished, angry Kansans rightly appalled by the notion of such state-sanctioned hate and discrimination. The backlash should lead the Kansas Senate to steer clear of approving the legislation.

Some Kansas lawmakers also are interested in eliminating no-fault divorce as a way to remove "incompatibility" as a valid reason for a legal split.

While it's understandable to hope for married couples to try and work out differences, the state has no business interfering in reasons people get divorced. Why encourage legal battles over who's to blame that would do more to hurt children?

Such self-righteous maneuvering by ultraconservatives is not only sad, but also a colossal waste of taxpayer time and money.

That said, Kansans weary of as much in state government at least should know the misguided proposals are powering resistance to the ultraconservative agenda of Gov. Sam Brownback and his Republican allies. Even though the nonsensical pursuits make the state more of a national laughingstock, the campaign should convince more Kansans of the need for change in Topeka.

The question is how much damage will be done before the state manages to reverse its course.

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