Letters to the Editor

Letters on gay rights, red-state model, basketball history

State should ensure equal rights for all

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning Kansans have no protection from discrimination under the current law. The current anti-discrimination act that was passed in 1953 provides protection for citizens based on their race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry but does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

On Feb. 12, 2015, House Bill 2323 was introduced intending to make it illegal in Kansas to fire, evict and deny services to others based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee, continuing to leave LGBTQ Kansans unprotected.

Had this bill passed, it would have protected these individuals as they sought employment and housing. Without these opportunities, they are at risk for victimization. Homeless LGBTQ individuals are at higher risk to experience sexual violence, suffer more mental health problems, and have a higher suicide rate than people who don’t identify as LGBTQ.

This legislation also been introduced in previous years, and every time it was shot down. Next time it is introduced, the Legislature needs to do something different to move forward.

It is our duty as Kansans to ensure that all people are treated equally and have protection under the law for their basic human rights.

Tamara Johnston, Wichita

Red-state model

My liberal friends seem perplexed that some right-wing observers applaud Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts, slippery job numbers and seemingly sorry record of meeting the Kansas budget. But potential tax-cutters in states such as Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma seem inspired by Brownback’s leadership.

They just might do it slightly differently now after watching the struggles in Kansas. However, those who would cut taxes are still committed and energized by the Kansas experiment.

Stimulated by the allure of reducing government and the opinions of economist Arthur Laffer, groups such as Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and the American Legislative Exchange Council and other would-be government shrinkers can envision an America made up of states like Kansas.

That’s because the shrinker thinkers really don’t care about jobs, public education for all, or services to the downtrodden. Their only concern is reducing taxes for the well-to-do, and however they get there is fine by them.

And under those parameters, Brownback and his kinsmen in the Legislature have hit a home run. They have written the primer on shrinking government and reducing taxes.

It is now time for other states to avoid the pitfalls that have plagued Kansas and get about reducing taxes for the wealthiest in their states.

Elizabeth Kinch, Derby

Basketball history

James Naismith invented basketball at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Mass. (now Springfield College), which was an instruction center for future directors of the Y, known as “secretaries.”

Part of the inspiration for this game came from “Duck on a Rock,” a favorite game during Naismith’s childhood in Almonte, Ontario, near Ottawa. Before coming to the University of Kansas to be director of the gym, campus chaplain and basketball coach, he earned a degree in physical education at McGill University in Montreal, a medical degree at the University of Colorado Medical School (Gross Medical College) and a diploma from the Presbyterian College of Theology in Montreal.

Naismith did not believe that basketball needed much coaching, which may help explain why he is the only KU coach with a losing record. Some wanted to call this new game “Naismith Ball,” but he refused.

Basketball caught on and was included in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which also featured Jesse Owens and Kansas’ own Glenn Cunningham.

Don Anderson, Winfield

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